Beachside eateries recovering from red tide

Red tide has recently spread to Brevard County causing problems for life beach side with dead fish, sickness, and a shortage in business.

With the toxic algae bloom diverting most people away from the beach, most businesses have had a loss in revenue because they have to minimize seating with fewer inside than outdoor arrangements.

“It caused concern based upon our sales for events because that’s our money-maker,” said Elton Warren,  senior kitchen manager for house and events at the HIlton in Cocoa Beach.

The  harmful toxins produced by red tide cause respiratory irritation in humans can also kill off various marine organisms, including fish. The result is a foul odor that produces watery eyes and scratchy throats.

The Indialantic Long Doggers faced a drop in business because not only did their “customers but even some could not tolerate eating outdoors.

“What I’ll call our non-regular customers that fill the restaurant and make the day busy, they weren’t here as much,” manager Al Steiginga said. “Even some of my regulars said we didn’t come in yesterday because it was too strong.”

In addition, Steiginga said the red tide also had a negative impact on his the restaurant’s staff.

“Not only did my staff not make enough money, [but] because they have to work to make money, they started coughing,” Steiginga said. “It was a double fact that even some of my waitresses got sick. I just think working eight hours in the open air like our restaurant definitely caused irritation in their lungs.”

Steiginga and his staff did make adjustments to lessen the effect the red tide was having.

“We have the doors open to let people in and out to keep the air flow constant at Long Doggers,” he said. “We had all of the doors and windows shut even our sea-bar as we call it we put the screen down on there. We were just trying to make the inside as good as possible. If we could accommodate people by bringing them inside we did.”

While the impact of the red tide has somewhat passed, the stench of all the dead fish on the beach and in the dumpsters remains unpleasant.

“Even when the red tide went, the smell of the fish got worse,” Steiginga said. “My friends that own Ichabods down by Paradise Beach said it stuck up their place. Until they picked up the dumpsters with the dead fish it stunk all up and down A1A.”

By Luca Sullivan