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Catching Up With John Tomlinson: TNT Open For Service

As TNT Custom Marine in Miami is classified as an essential business under Florida State COVID-19 shelter-in-place restrictions, the well-known operation is still performing service work. However, the company is not allowed to launch boats in storage for its customers. TNT personnel can only test-run boats the company has serviced to be sure whatever problems they were brought in for have been resolved.


John Tomlinson and the crew at TNT Custom Marine are still working under novel coronavirus guidelines.

“As long as we have service business, we are still open,” said John Tomlinson, who co-owns TNT with his longtime business partner Mike Thomas. “We can’t launch boats for our existing or new customers—that part of our marina business is shut down—but clients who have boats in slips in our marina can still take them out.

“There are a lot of restrictions for boaters in our area,” he continued. “They can’t beach on any of the sandbars and they can’t raft up.”

No customers are allowed in TNT’s main office or work areas. Tomlinson also said that he and Thomas are strictly mandating and enforcing social distancing practices with all of their service department employees and mechanics. As for customers who need service or repair work performed by TNT, they can call the main office to arrange drop-off and pick-up that requires no in-person interaction.

So far, Tomlinson said, the company has stayed busy with service work since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, though he believes it will slow down. But the 57-year-old and his wife, Donna, have had personal concerns of their own. A few weeks ago, they returned from a ski-trip to Crested Butte, Colo., and became ill.

“We tried to get tested for coronavirus, but we didn’t meet the testing protocols and we hadn’t been in direct contact with anyone known to have it,” said Tomlinson. “So no one would test us.

“We both feel better now, but what was weird about it was that for eight or nine days, one day I would feel I was over it and the next day I would feel sick again,” he continued. “It wasn’t that bad—it wasn’t keeping me down though I stayed away from everyone—but it was really weird.”

Tomlinson said that while knowing for certain if he and wife had been infected with the virus would be useful, he is taking the approach that they were and have behaved accordingly.

“I’d like to know if we had it to know if we now have the anti-bodies,” he said. “But what’s important is to treat everybody, including yourself, as if they’re sick and behave that way. If we do that and stick to it, I think we’ll all be fine.”

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