MIAMI (WSVN) - Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced he will be signing an emergency order issuing more closures across the county.
The mayor announced he will be signing an order closing restaurant dining rooms, ballrooms, banquet facilities, party venues, gyms and fitness centers, and short-term rentals.
Monday night, however, the mayor announced it was OK to have outdoor dining with limited capacity.
Gimenez said, “We’re going to be closing some of the businesses that opened sometime around the beginning of June. We’ve had a doubling of people in the hospital with COVID-19, we’ve had a doubling of people in the ICU and a doubling of people on ventilators. My concern is we’re going to reach our medical capacity here in Miami-Dade and that’s something I do not want to get to.”
A group in Coral Gables came together to draft a letter that asks Gimenez to provide proof the surge in cases is directly connected to the restaurant industry.
Nick Sharp of Threefold Cafe said, “We all just thought we needed to get together and discuss it and come up with a game plan. This yo-yo, no plan, no strategy, that’s not how we run businesses.”
Restaurants will still also be allowed to operate for takeout and delivery services.
The new measures are the result of a huge spike in cases. More than 37,000 cases have been reported in Florida over the last four days.
Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease specialist at FIU, said, “We’re absolutely skyrocketing. If you don’t have the people, the space, and the equipment and drugs that you need to take care of these patients, you start triaging. That means people die.”
Hundreds continue to flock to testing sites, like William Rodgers, who fears he has the virus.
Rodgers said, “Of course it makes me scared. I have an 88-year-old mother and a father in a nursing home.”
Jackson Health is once again limiting non-emergency care to free up beds.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said, “The news is not particularly good. I’m looking at the statistics, and the statistics are very grave. Every single metric is up.”
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said on CNN, “This is really going to be devastating, but I think the problem is I don’t know that we have any other choice. Two weeks ago there were 60 COVID patients on ventilators. Today it’s 160.”
The closures have caused some confusion among South Florida business owners.
Gerry Cia, owner of Prima Pasta, said, “We were trying to make it again, and now it’s going to be bad. We have to make some decisions because we cannot afford to have 45 employees.”
Matt Pack of Primal Fit Miami said, “This could ruin small business. I don’t feel like it was warranted.”
Pack is having to move his gym classes online. “We had to make that pivot in the very beginning. Thank goodness we did, so we just have to continue to grow online. I’m just going to continue to stay positive and really just try to do what we do,” Pack said.
Igor Ferraro of Ferraro’s Kitchen in Miami said, “It’s easy to spend money. It’s not easy to make money. This restaurant, as many others, is not meant to be a take-out or delivery restaurant. You pay to provide the service that you normally provide, but you have no business. It’s going to be a big challenge.”
Joe Chao of Modern Martial Art and Fitness said, “On Wednesday, I guess we’ve just got to close down.”
Marbet Lewis, an attorney, said the new measures are the result of a grim new reality. “It’s not just a temporary shift in operations. You need to look at the next six months of your business. Adjust and pivot or close because there are just not too many options out there.” Lewis said.
One New Yorker visiting Miami on business said, “I think that’s the key of controlling this thing is closing down as soon as you know it’s here, tracing the cases, and that’s the best way to prevent it from getting out of control.”
The closures will go into effect Wednesday.
“At this time, I plan to keep open various outdoor activities, including condominium and hotel pools with strict social distancing and masks rules, as well as summer camps and child daycare centers with strict capacity limits, requiring masks and social distancing of at least 6 feet,” Gimenez said in a statement.
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Along with the closures, Gimenez announced the reopening of Miami-Dade County beaches effective Tuesday. The mayor warned in his order that if people failed to follow public health rules and there was crowding he would be forced to shut them down again.
Miami-Dade County remains under a curfew from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m.; essential workers are exempt from the order.
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