Many New York City businesses are reportedly capitalizing on the recent migration of New Yorkers to Florida, opening new locations in the Sunshine State and praising the government's more moderate approach to COVID-19.
The owner of New York City's upscale French bistro La Goulue declared she had "escaped" New York when talking about the restaurant's new location in Palm Beach, which is often packed with patrons.
"I have escaped New York!'' said owner Jean Denoyer. "We take everyone's temperature when they arrive and keep the doors and windows open so fresh air circulates.''
Similarly, the owner of NYC's Le Bilboquet opened a sister location in Palm Beach this week.
"[Palm Beach] is really working with you, not trying to put wood in your wheels,'' said owner Philippe Delgrange. "I have seen so many friends of mine, I can't believe it. And all our New York staff is asking to come work here.''
Florida does not have capacity or mask restrictions for restaurants, compared to New York, which has shuttered dine-in eating for months. Restaurants there were only allowed to resume indoor dining at 25% beginning February 12.
Other New York City restaurants that have opened locations in Palm Beach include Café Boulud, Bice, Sant Ambroeus, Swifty's, and Monkey Bar. New York restaurant group Host is also opening a new steakhouse called "Avalon" in Delray Beach at the end of February.
"I can't believe the astonishing amount of people here this year — it's like a prison break!" said Palm Beach resident John Lehmann.
New Yorker Erica Holzer said she feels "alive" again after visiting Florida, noting "they take precautions but aren't absurd."
In addition to restaurants, fitness chains such as SoulCycle and salons such as New York's Paul Labrecque have also opened up new locations and operations in the state.