Some Collier businesses experience boost in sales despite coronavirus closures

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson
Ocean Prime restaurant in Collier County (WINK News)

As we approach Father’s Day weekend, we’re still in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. While many of you, along with local businesses, have felt the pandemic pinch, others say they’ve experienced a boost.

For Collier County, it’s a mix of good and bad news. Some businesses have closed permanently and others, like “Hyde-N-Chic,” just opened before the pandemic and owner Andy Hyde says his small restaurant is thriving. Others are up in sales over last year.

Dining is on the menu again, chattering at restaurants has returned and some are even experiencing lines out the door — not what some expected after the pandemic closed restaurants like Ocean Prime for several weeks.

“All the measures were taking the differences like wearing a mask, it’s what we need to do right now,” said the restaurant’s general manager, Rick Giannasi.

He says Ocean Prime lost around 100 seats to follow CDC guidelines, but tables have been full lately.

“The people want some sense of normalcy. I think coming out to dine on occasion is one of the factors,” he said.

Meanwhile, others lost so much that they had to close for good.

”When COVID-19 hit, pretty much I just took a deep breath and looked at my staff,” said Hyde, most of whom he had to furlough after just opening his Naples restaurant in November.

“We had over 80% cancellations. Financially-wise, there was over $150,000 lost for a small, self-owned business,” he said.

Now, even with summer being a slower time of year, “We’re sold out right now for the next two weeks. Our business is thriving,” Hyde said.

Collier Tourism says hotels are a different story. Three couldn’t recover and had to shut down for good. But right now, a majority of hotels stand at more than 20% occupancy.

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