MIAMI (WSVN) - City of Miami leaders have relaxed some of the restrictions enforced to help stem the spread of COVID-19, allowing the city’s restaurants to open their dining rooms at full capacity and adding one hour before the citywide curfew goes into effect.
7News cameras captured a busy street in Miami’s Wynnwood’s neighborhood, Friday night, as people had dinner at local restaurants.
The crowded scene comes one night after city commissioners voted to loosen the coronavirus restrictions.
The announcement was met with enthusiasm from local restaurant employees.
“More money, more business,” said Latarius Ingraham, a manager at Jackson’s Soul Food in Overtown.
Ingraham said his restaurant has been hit hard, but he’s hoping the new rules will help businesses return to pre-pandemic levels.
“We’re welcoming more people and more jobs,” he said.
Commissioners also voted to push the city’s curfew to begin at midnight, going against the county’s order stating an 11 p.m. start time.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez addressed the changes during a news conference on Friday.
“As you know, I have disagreed with the curfew for quite some time, and I think this will give restaurants and businesses the opportunity to recover and create more jobs,” he said.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he wants to wait for health experts to give the green light before making these decisions.
He released a statement that reads in part, “We will monitor this weekend’s testing results and hospitalizations, and if all remains stable, we plan to move the countywide curfew to midnight until 6 a.m.”
But as South Florida and the rest of the state continues to open up at a rapid pace, health experts are warning residents about a possible COVID-19 surge.
Epidemiologist Michael Osterholm gave a dire prediction while speaking with Jake Tapper on CNN, Friday night.
“Florida is ripe for another large outbreak. What they’ve done is opened up everything as if nothing happened there,” he said.
Osterholm warned another surge is likely on the horizon.
“You and I could be talking in 8 to 10 weeks, and I will likely bet that Florida will be a house on fire,” he said to Tapper.
The public health expert warning comes on the same day as Miami-Dade County Public Schools confirmed four COVID-19 cases at local schools: three students and one employee, all of them at elementary schools.
Meanwhile, school buses were back on the road in Broward County for the first time since March, as roughly 20% of the 270,000 students in the district began heading back to classrooms.
Back in Miami, restaurant employees said they will continue to observe safety guidelines.
“We’re still going to be wearing our masks, our gloves, social distancing,” said Jeff Grosser, who co-owns Buya in Wynwood.
Grosser said he welcomes the new changes and stressed that health will be their top priority.
“We’re not out of the woods yet. We understand that, but it is good for us to be able to get back to some semblance of normalcy in our industry,” he said.
Ingraham echoed Grosser’s commitment to safety.
“We’re still going to stay socially distant, and we’re still going to follow the guidelines and the rules and everything that complies,” he said.
Suarez said he is also allowing up to 10 people per restaurant table.
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