Lido Beach businesses still empty despite red tide relief

Lido Beach should be lined with beach chairs, but it's nearly empty. 

"It's very frustrating when you come out here and hope people are gonna come and you are going to do a little bit of business," the owner of Beach Works Sarasota, Ken Turner said.

This time of year, he should have at least a dozen customers a day, but his business has dropped off. 

"I've rented two chairs and one umbrella, and that's for the week," he said. 

Turner joins a long list of beach businesses and restaurants that have seen customers disappear. 

Red tide is present, but in many places, there is no smell and hardly any dead fish. 

"It's still not gone, but it's gotten much better," said Turner. 

He goes to Facebook to try and draw customers back, but he's worried the damage is done. 

"It's put a lot of people in a bad way right now," he said. 

It's even put a damper on community events. A triathlon scheduled for Saturday in Sarasota was postponed. In Venice, the city's monthly 6-mile bike ride was put on hold until October. 

"It's just kind of lingering in the air. I didn't want to promote that as our city. That is not what we are about. We are a bicycling community. I want everybody to have a good taste in their mouths when they come here," the City's Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator, Darlene Culpepper said. 

Everyone now asks the same question: When will it finally end? 

"That's a really good question and that's a question we don't have an answer for," Mote Marine Laboratory scientist Dr. Tracy Fanara said, adding there's just no way to know until it's over. 

A shift in winds brought relief for more than a week, but Dr. Fanara said it's only temporary. 

"The bloom didn't actually go away. It was just pushed offshore, as well, with the respiratory issues and the aerosols," she said. 

One thing that hasn't been canceled is Van Wezel's Friday Fest. It's one small bit of hope in a time that's left many hopeless. 

"Tomorrow we are on. Tomorrow at 5 we will be back on the lawn, right on the bay, which we are looking forward to. We want everybody to come out in droves," said Van Wezel, General Manager Anthony Becich.