From next Monday, Miami-Dade County residents will be able to enjoy one more hour away from their homes, as announced by Mayor Carlos Giménez on Wednesday. In addition, people will also be able to take advantage of the reopening of recreational spaces that will open that same day.
Is Miami-Dade County back to normal?
The mayor assured that the decision was approved by the White House’s work table before the coronavirus, which includes Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci. He also emphasized that people should remain careful about measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“Just because we’re opening more doesn’t mean this is over,” he said during the virtual press conference.
During a radio interview on Tuesday, Giménez said they were waiting until after Labor Day to relax the measurements. On Wednesday, he said it was decided to relax them on Monday because it would mark two weeks since the dining rooms were opened inside the restaurants.
But restaurant owners, who have suffered the economic impact from the curfew that implemented the county since June, say starting it later is a relief.
João Oliveira, owner of Tutto Pasta restaurants, who has been on Coral Way for 26 years and who has another more casual food, Tutto Pizza, believes it has been a good decision for curfew to start at 11 p.m.
That overtime means a big step for the restaurant industry, because in summer in Miami people start going out for dinner after 8:30 p.m. because it’s very hot before, Oliveira explained.
“From 6 to 8 we do nothing, because very few people come. That [curfew] thing at 10 p.m. was killing us,” Oliveira said, stating that he actually had to accept the last customers at 9 p.m. because people take their time for dinner and can’t tell them to leave.
He perceives the county’s decision as a respite because restaurants are running at half capacity and income is limited. Now by being able to open until later, you can also sit more customers outside because it’s already night and the heat affects less.
For the Novecento restaurant chain, the change at 11 p.m. means a big plus because 80% of its customers are Latino and don’t go out to eat until 9 p.m., explained Javier Cividini, co-production of the Novecento restaurant in Key Biscayne.
“As far as we sat them, we took their order and the food arrived, we had to close,” Cividini said.
The businessman said a law enforcement officer arrived last week after 10 p.m. Although the kitchen was closed, there were some people left at a table enjoying a drink, and the agent told them they had to take them out.
“In these circumstances it is not the best publicity for us to throw people out,” said Cividini, who believes the decision makes a big difference.
OTHER REOPENING ARE COMING
In addition to the new curfew, Zoo Miami and Jungle Island will be able to reopen from Monday. The mayor said those who visit the parks will have to wear masks. Most of the indoor spaces of the amusement parks and also the playgrounds will remain closed.
In addition, people will be allowed to play baseball and softball in the parks from Monday, with new restrictions.
Businesses that rent electric scooters and bicycles around the county will also be able to summarize their operations, which have been paralyzed since March.
Giménez added that at the suggestion of medical experts he has decided to wait at least two weeks before announcing new openings. On Tuesday I had said I was going to open “more and more businesses very soon.”
But on Wednesday the mayor acknowledged that the data should be analyzed, and it implored the community to take the COVID-19 test, especially people who met with family or friends over Labor Day weekend.
He further reiterated that he does not think it would be possible to open bars or nightclubs before having a coronavirus vaccine.
“It’s unfortunate, but I don’t see that there will be those businesses before we get a vaccine,” Giménez said.
WHAT DO MEDICAL EXPERTS THINK?
Doctors and infectious disease specialists Aileen Marty of Florida International University and Lilian Abbo of the University of Miami participated in the mayor’s virtual press conference to demonstrate their support for new measures. But the two doctors also asked state residents not to neglect each other.
“We are getting better and on track,” said Lilian Abbo, infectious disease specialist at the University of Miami, adding that the community must continue to be very careful and learn from mistakes that have been made in the past.