COVID-19 leaves lasting impact on local Oceanfront businesses


Alayna C

Nautilus Restaurant creates outdoor seating to maximize dining capacity.

Alayna Caravas, Staff Writer

Local businesses have been forced to make adjustments to survive due to the global pandemic. Owner of Nautilus restaurant, Photis Georgiou, and manager of Planet Pizza, Marc Abarillo, spoke about the damaging effects COVID-19 has on the community. 

“It’s been a difficult transition; some customers don’t understand why we have to follow all these rules. We have lost almost half the business from previous years due to the restrictions,” said Abarillo.

The past summer season, typically the oceanfront’s best season, did not deliver. Many businesses closed or reduced hours, affecting many young people and foreign students that are employed for the season.

“When I worked at the oceanfront during the summer, the job I had was definitely declining in business so badly we had to shut down the season early due to COVID,” said alumni Taylor Womack. “The only time people were around was when it was the weekend, but mostly the oceanfront was literally a ghost town during the whole summer,” said Ocean Lakes alumni, Taylor Womack.

Employees and employers were both affected by the slow season.

 “With the uncertainty of the pandemic, we weren’t able to fully staff. We had to lay off dozens of employees that have been with us for years and couldn’t tell them when they could return to full employment,” said Georgiou.

Many restaurants set up tents with seating in their parking lots to make up for the loss of seating inside. The seating arrangements outside are still six feet apart, and customers must wear masks when entering the restaurant. Businesses continue to make adjustments, but the restaurateurs worry the pandemic and restrictions could extend into next year.

 “We made it through a difficult season, but these restrictions are not sustainable. We hope next season will be back to normal,” said Georgiou.