Miami-Dade mayor releases draft of guidelines for potential May 18 reopening


MIAMI (WSVN) - Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has released a draft of the guidelines for a potential reopening for Miami-Dade County.

Gimenez said the county is looking to reopen this coming Monday, with approval from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Broward County is also looking forward to reopening some businesses after weeks of closures due to the coronavirus.

“I know it won’t be normal,” Broward County Mayor Dale Holness said. “It’s gonna be a different world.”

Should the plan be approved, certain non-essential businesses would be allowed to reopen at limited capacity with safety rules.

Miami-Dade County also released a color-coded system Wednesday. Each color represents a different phase of reopening, with rules and guidelines that should be followed depending on coronavirus cases. Red is the most restrictive, blue is the least.

The draft details specific protocols for retail, small businesses, personal grooming businesses, restaurants, shopping centers and more.

However, places that will not be reopening now include bars, pubs, nightclubs, movie theaters, pools, gyms and more.

Among the changes businesses would have to make include the requirement of face masks, customers will have to social distance and stores will have to frequently sanitize common areas.

Restaurants will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity, but no more than four guests will be allowed at the table, and there will be no eating at the bar.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and other mayors across Miami-Dade held a virtual news conference to talk about their plans to reopen.

The City of Miami, Miami Beach and other communities will have to wait until next Wednesday to begin the reopening process.

“We recognize the needs to open up the economy, but to make sure that we act thoughtfully and deliberately,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said.

Holness said that as South Florida begins to reopen, the phases will only be successful if people follow social distancing guidelines. Otherwise…

“We’re gonna have to shut back down, and I don’t think anyone wants to see that happen again,” he said.

To read the full draft, click here.

It has been a rough go for Miami-Dade restaurants dealing with the pandemic.

Many, like Ferraro’s Kitchen, have been closed or only doing take out for close to two months.

Igor Ferraro of Ferraro’s Kitchen said, “Business has been very bad. At the end of the day, we are not even able to pay the expenses.”

Now, restaurant owners are learning when they do finally reopen, there’s going to be a lot of rules in Miami-Dade County.

There’s the things you might expect, like hand sanitizer and hand washing stations, touch free trash bins and plexiglass barriers at counters.

But there are other rules too, like an indoor seating capacity of 50%.

Bar counters must be closed, and only four customers per table. Six can be at one table if they are from the same household.

Aurora Torres of Cafe Papillon said, “We will have to adapt and follow them. There is no other choice.”

At Cafe Papillon in downtown Miami, servers are already wearing face shields, but the owners wonder how they can enforce some of the new rules.

Sergio Diaz, also of Cafe Papillon, said, “You cannot ask them for, ‘Let me see your drivers license to see if you are related.’ You assume people are following. One part we can implement, but the other part needs to be the customers.”

One option Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said is to boost outdoor seating.

Gimenez said, “We are also encouraging in Miami-Dade and to see what we can do to allow these restaurants to go outside maybe into the sidewalk, maybe into the parking lot and get 100% of the capacity outside.”

Restaurants also must do employee health screenings.

Employees can’t work if their temperature is over 99.5 degrees and must wear masks and gloves.

Customers must wear masks. When not at tables, there must be single use menus, disposable or roll up silverware, and single use condiments.

Ferraro said, “We already print our menu, so it will be the same menu we have right now, but it will be disposable.”

Some restaurants wonder if they’ll really survive this new normal, while others are staying optimistic.

Diaz said, “I don’t know if we are going to be able to do it. I don’t know.”

Ferraro said, “It’s not going to be for the rest of our lives, but for the time being I think we are prepared to do it.”

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