Amid pandemic, Joe’s Stone Crab reopens with safety restrictions in place

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Joe Stone Crab has reopened its doors in Miami Beach for another season, but this year things are a little different due to the coronavirus pandemic.

7News cameras captured customers at the popular restaurant feasting on the house specialty, Friday night.

“We serve in the vicinity of 300,000 to 400,000 pounds a year,” said Stephen Sawitz, Joe’s great-grandson and the restaurant’s chief operating officer.

Crab season is in full swing, and the staff at Joe’s Stone Crab said they’re ready to give diners the five-star treatment, in the safest way possible.

“It’s the 107th season,” said Sawitz.

Despite social distancing guidelines in place, the atmosphere inside the restaurant was still cooking.

Customers left no doubt as to their favorite dish.

“Obviously the stone crabs,” said a young diner.

Sawitz gave 7News a rundown of what protocols everyone is taking and what to expect when dining in.

“When you come in through the back door, if you work here, you’re going to have your temperature taken on your forehead,” he said. “We have door openers, people that actually open the door for you when you come in. We’ve separated tables at least 6 feet apart.”

And that’s not all.

“We have [ultraviolet] lamps and ionizers throughout the restaurant that kill bacteria, mold, etcetera,” said Sawitz.

Joe’s has even transformed its parking lot into an outdoor dining area. Forty tables can fit under a large tent, providing extra seating for diners.

Friday night turned out to be an occasion fit to celebrate and relax amid a pandemic.

“We definitely wanted to come out to support our local restaurants,” said a local resident. “We live very local in Coconut Grove, and we were super thrilled to come celebrate the 107th year of Joe’s Stone Crab,” said one customer.

Another young customer has a tip for other diners who decide to swing by.

“Just crack [open] all the shells first, to eat it all off, and then just eat the whole entire thing,” he said.

Another notable change to Joe’s is a revision of its long-standing no reservations policy. Diners are now able to make a reservation through the restaurant reservation app Resy. However, they can still come to the restaurant without a reservation. For more information, click here.

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