Miami-Dade targeting May 18 for initial reopening

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MIAMI (WSVN) - Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has announced a possible reopening date for the county’s businesses.

Speaking during a video conference Friday, Gimenez said the targeted date is May 18.

“We need to get the economy going again and do it as safely as possible,” he noted.

The mayor said the date is something still being worked on, emphasizing that it’s a target date at the moment.

“I have spoken to the governor, and he is in agreement that Miami-Dade County should move forward opening certain sectors of the economy with the target date — and I stress again, the target date —  of May 18,” he said. “As we start moving toward a new normal and opening up businesses in the future, I’m gonna make sure there are seniors and anyone at risk are protected.”

The specifics of which businesses can reopen and what additional restrictions will be applied have yet to be announced. However, the mayor said that beaches, movie theaters and nightclubs won’t make the cut in this phase of reopening.

“We want to do those that are easy to do, or easier to do, and safer to do first,” Gimenez said.

And the first places to reopen are public spaces including parks, boat ramps and golf courses, which opened April 29 with social distancing rules in place.

Cities across the county can also choose to not reopen.

“The cities can be more strict than Miami-Dade, but they can’t be less strict,” Gimenez said. “They can decide not to reopen.”

Each municipality has the right to hold back on easing restrictions. For example, public spaces are still closed in the City of Miami.

People in downtown Miami learned about the news from the mayor.

“I mean, we can’t ruin the economy,” said a resident.

“I think it’s premature,” said another resident.

“Well, I think it’s a great idea,” said Yasel Fleitis, a Miami resident. “I mean in Miami, you’ve seen the damage that COVID-19 has caused Miami.”

Gimenez said, “We got to do it in a way that our doctors say the likelihood is diminished and is safe to do. We also have to do it in a way where the businesses are safe to operate.”

Gimenez said he’s confident in his decision to move to the next step.

“We’re meeting the gating criteria issued by the CDC and the White House,” he said. “I’m very pleased that there is a light at the end of this COVID tunnel.”

Businesses that do reopen would have to adhere to social distancing rules.

Mayor Gimenez added that restaurants will be part of the reopening phase, but there will need to be extra steps to curb and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

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