How Florida and Miami-Dade County Plan to Reopen

Kate Stuzin, Managing Editor

With the rest of Florida wrapping up the first week of phase one, Miami-Dade County has finally announced that it will begin reopening some businesses on May 18. Though excluded from DeSantis’s announcement of the reopening plan, Miami-Dade County has taken matters into its own hands.  

Miami-Dade Mayor Gimenez did not explicitly state which businesses would reopen, but he has suggested that the plan would include restaurants. Miami Palmetto Senior High sophomore Paul Yan and his family would be directly affected by this, since they run their own restaurant, Bamboo Garden.

“Our restaurant is currently only open for takeout and delivery,” Yan said. “I deeply feel for all the workers who are currently laid off… Opening businesses will definitely help the economy and struggling individuals.”

Outside of  Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County, Governor DeSantis has allowed restaurants to open their dining rooms at 25% capacity. Parties must include no more than six and tables are placed six feet apart. Patrons must walk into the restaurant with a mask and exit with a mask, but may take it off once seated at their table. These same rules will likely apply to restaurants in Miami-Dade County. 

“The priority for our restaurant is to keep everyone safe. Personally, I do not agree with DeSantis opening up the state, and I especially disagree with restaurants opening May 18 considering the current circumstances,” Yan said.

Others share Yan’s concerns, which has spurred Gimenez to allow municipalities within Miami-Dade County, such as Pinecrest, to establish stricter rules than the county.

“As of May 1, our cases were declining, but the number of those hospitalized has been steady for weeks, and the average deaths per day have just hit a new high. That is why we are not opening,” Pinecrest Mayor Joe Corradino said.

Pinecrest has begun opening parks — as has the rest of the state — but with heavy rules and regulations. People must continue to wear masks while in parks and maintain a six foot distance between each other. 

“Safety first and lowering the risk is what we are concerned with,” Corradino said. “Pinecrest has lessened its restrictions on open spaces for very passive use… [and] the good news is that there will [soon] be new rules in place for essential and non essential businesses, which will mandate the distancing.”

Meanwhile, the Pinecrest Council has worked remotely via Zoom — a video conferencing platform — to conduct their meetings. They have worked alongside the county and the Chamber of Commerce, developing plans to restart the economy as soon as possible. 

“Change is always hard to accept… [but] remote working will become common. Restaurants, shops and retail will all learn to function differently,” Corradino said. “These habits will be adopted and will be the way we function after a vaccine is developed. The future looks more like today than it looks like it did in March.”