(Note: This story appears in the September 2021 issue of ED Magazine)

Club’s perseverance helped keep it and a lot of people dependent on it afloat during La generational pandemic.

Lido Cabaret general manager/team leader Alvaro Morales felt defeated. So much so, he skipped dinner and went straight to bed.

Morales had been sitting at the club in Cocoa Beach (Florida) on a night hijacked by the COVID pandemic that rendered the establishment empty.

“At the end of the day, COVID definitely hit everybody,” says Morales, who has been with Lido Cabaret for eight years. “We were fortunate to persevere.”

After a forced closure on March 17, 2020 — the saddest St. Patrick’s Day a lot of people in any industry can recall — Lido Cabaret reopened in June after a ton of legwork to comply with any regulations per the pandemic.

Morales knew the void a closure would create for a club that is used to seeing 200-plus customers walk through its doors and upwards of 40 girls working on any given night.

So he got on the phone with whomever he had to — the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), code enforcers, health inspectors.

Lido offered Smoothies and Boobies (smoothies with no alcohol) and $1 hot dogs. Everything was Caprice Suns, water bottles, Red Bulls, Arizona Teas. And while the prospect of staying open without alcohol was daunting, Morales was determined.

“I told the owner’s son, ‘I’m going to do whatever it takes. I need to make sure my girls keep making money,’” Morales says. “We were at a loss, but the most important thing was for the girls to survive this.”

Lido Cabaret exterior.

And it wasn’t just the entertainers on the roster Morales was thinking of — “I still have letters from girls who didn’t want us to shut down” — he was getting inquiries from girls all over Florida and even neighboring states.

“I remember I spoke with someone at DBPR and they were like ‘Alvaro, you know what I like about you, your perseverance — you call me every day, When are they going to come check and review our restaurant?’ We ended up getting our liquor back.”

“We’re a mom-and-pop establishment and we were able to keep food on people’s tables, making them money,” Morales continues. “We’ve been so fortunate to not only have our girls, but have guests back.”

Morales vividly remembers reopening Lido because the atmosphere among patrons reminded him of Thanksgiving, his favorite holiday.

“(On Thanksgiving) there’s a line outside waiting to be welcomed, enjoy a nice plate of food and be surrounded by people on a holiday you’re supposed to be thankful,” he says. “The same thing happened during COVID.”

Not only was Lido attempting to show people it was back in the community, but top-tier hospitality remained a commitment, as well as people’s safety. They took every precaution in regards to their staff, entertainers and guests.

“We didn’t just go crazy,” Morales says. “We never did anything to jeopardize our license or jeopardize anyone’s health. We did everything by the book.”

“I told the owner’s son, ‘I’m going to do whatever it takes. I need to make sure my girls keep making money.’” — Alvaro Morales

Between regulars who had been cooped up, dancers anxious for a revenue stream and bored staff, the Lido reopening was greeted with relief from all corners.

“I think people were longing for companionship — we’re social creatures,” Morales says. “I’m a firm believer that’s what people wanted to do.

“At this point, we want people to feel they live in a normal world, even though things have changed so drastically,” Morales continues. “But when they walk into Lido’s, we want to make sure they feel as normal as possible.”

For more information, visit lidocabaret.us or call (321) 784-1022.

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