3 Miami restaurants ordered closed after reported COVID-19 safety violations

MIAMI (WSVN) - Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said three restaurants in the City of Miami were forced to close for violating an emergency order requiring enforcement of COVID-19 safety regulations.

A release put out by Gimenez’s office states Miami Police shut down the locations after being informed of the situation by Miami-Dade Police.

The restaurants that were ordered to close their doors are Astra in Wynwood, Swan in the Design District and El Secreto Bar and Grill in Little Havana.

Alejandro Garcia, Astra’s general manager, discussed the closing with 7News on Saturday evening.

“It’s frustrating, yeah, but at the end of the day, safety is our number one concern,” he said.

Signs on Astra’s entrance doors let customers know about the closure.

Gimenez has repeatedly indicated he will be strictly enforcing local businesses’ adherence to these guidelines.

“That’s what our focus is now: tougher enforcement of new normal rules that require masks and social distancing,” he said.

A representative for Swan, meanwhile, issued a statement that reads, “There has been tremendous anticipation around the reopening of the restaurant. We will reopen for business tomorrow exceeding all governmental guidelines and practices to ensure a safe environment. Swan remains the ideal venue, with over 60% outdoor seating, allowing our restaurant guests ample space and open air dining.​”

Swan is also where Miami Mayor Francis Suarez was recently seen and has received backlash for appearing to not be complying with social distancing rules.

A statement issued by his office reads in part, “The Mayor had dinner at a table with three other individuals in compliance with city and county policy. He is doing everything he can to responsibly support local small businesses.”​

Saturday’s closings come after the Florida Department of Health announced a third day of record COVID-19 cases in the Sunshine State: a total of 4,049 new infections. Of these cases, officials said, 618 are in Miami-Dade County and 347 are in Broward.

Garcia said he and his staff will comply with all the guidelines, like requiring customers to wear masks when they’re not sitting at their tables and only operating at 50% capacity.

The owner of El Secreto, who asked not to be identified or show his face on camera, told 7News that this was a misunderstanding. He said his business is licensed as a bar, and he thought bars were allowed to reopen on Friday.

“They told us what we should do. We have to put stickers and all that stuff so we could reopen, and we still cannot open, because we, as a bar, we cannot open,” he said.

The owner of El Secreto added that he was getting things ready with employees, but he never served anyone.

Garcia said Astra will reopen Sunday at 11 a.m.

“If you do come join us, wear your masks,” he said.

Restaurants that are forced to close could be subject to a fine.

Gimenez later announced an amendment to his order that requires any businesses that close because of safety violations to sign an affidavit before they are allowed to reopen saying they are following the rules.

Copyright 2020 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.