Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez has changed his mind and decided to allow restaurants and gyms to remain open just one day after ordering them to shut as coronavirus cases continue to climb in the city.
Gimenez announced in a tweet on Tuesday that he had agreed to keep gyms and fitness centers open after meeting with medical experts and the county’s wellness group.
He called the decision a ‘compromise’, explaining that anyone training indoors must wear a mask. If training outdoors, people do no have to wear a mask but must remain 10 feet apart.
The mayor also decided to allow ‘some’ outdoor dining at restaurants after discussing the issue with medical experts and members of the restaurant industry.
Under the amended rules, no more than four customers can be seated at a table, social distancing will be enforced and music will not be played loudly to ensure people are not shouting, Gimenez said.
The updates were met with mixed reactions from Miami residents. Some accused Gimenez of caving to industry leaders in spite of health concerns, while others praised him for relieving local businesses.
Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez has changed his mind and decided to allow restaurants and gyms to remain open just one day after ordering them to shut as coronavirus cases continue to climb in the city. Pictured: A couple is pictured enters the Ocean’s Ten restaurant on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach on July 4
Gimenez (pictured in June) said he amended the planned closures after meeting with medical experts and industry leaders
Miami is introducing new business restrictions two months after rolling earlier ones back as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to spike in the county and across the state. The graphic above shows how Florida’s case and death counts have risen since March
Gimenez’s order will go into effect on Wednesday, forcing all restaurants in Miami to suspend indoor dining and closing ballrooms, banquet halls, party venues and short-term rentals.
Most of the affected businesses had been reopened since Florida joined several other states in aggressively rolling back lockdowns about two months ago.
Gimenez explained that the order was necessary ‘to ensure that our hospitals continue to have the staffing necessary to save lives’ as those who are infected and in need of medical attention come in.
The county’s beaches, which were closed over the Fourth of July weekend, were reopened on Tuesday, but Gimenez warned that he will shut them down too if crowds do not practice proper social distancing.
Just north of Miami in Broward County, officials met on Monday to discuss rolling back businesses. A decision could come by Wednesday. Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner said Monday there has not been a decision to close businesses in his county.
Under a revised order from Monday, gyms can stay open if patrons wear masks inside and social distance outside. Patrons are seen lining up outside A-Rod’s UFC gym on June 27
Gimenez allowed beaches in Miami-Dade County to reopen on Tuesday but threatened to shut them down again if people fail to practice social distancing. Miami Beach is seen packed with unmasked visitors in June
Florida, according to the state’s Department of Health, has now surpassed Arizona with the steepest and most alarming rise in cases in the US.
Miami-Dade, the state’s most populous county with 2.8 million residents, reported a record 2,418 new cases of the deadly flu-like virus on Saturday. At the time, Florida also reached a new high of 11,458 cases in one day.
The county then confirmed on Tuesday that an additional 4,047 had been reported over Sunday and Monday, bringing the county’s total to 51,058 with 1,051 deaths.
Across the state, a total of 213,794 cases and 3,841 deaths have been reported as of Tuesday.
Coronavirus cases are now on the rise in 40 states across the US, which has reported nearly 2.95 million infections and 130,430 deaths to date.
Coronavirus cases are now on the rise in 40 states across the US, which has reported nearly 2.95 million infections and 130,430 deaths to date
As the number of COVID-19 cases rises in Florida, hospitals in Miami-Dade and neighboring Broward County are readying for a new wave of patients. Several medical facilities are freeing bed capacity to ensure all will can seek treatment, WPLG reports.
Gimenez said Miami-Dade was tracking the spike in the number of cases, which involved mostly 18- to 34-year-olds whose infections began in mid-June.
The county’s medical experts say the spike was caused by a number of factors, including young people going to congested areas, both indoors and outside ‘without taking precautions such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing’.
‘Contributing to the positives in that age group, the doctors have told me, were graduation parties, gatherings at restaurants that turned into packed parties in violation of the rules and street protests where people could not maintain social distancing and where not everyone was wearing facial coverings,’ Gimenez wrote in his statement.
The mayor’s original Monday order to close up restaurants for a second time whiplashed owners, leaving them frustrated and even more worried about the survival of their businesses.
‘We’re burned out emotionally, we’re burned out financially, and we’re burned out from the trauma of seeing everything that’s happening,’ said Karina Iglesias, a partner at the popular downtown Miami Spanish restaurants Niu Kitchen and Arson.
Michael Beltran, chef-partner at Ariete Hospitality Group which owns a handful of other popular Miami restaurants including Taurus, was struggling to come to terms with having to tell most of his 80 employees – many of whom were rehired for reopening – that they would again be unemployed.
Crowds of visitors walk past restaurants on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach on Friday as the Fourth of July weekend kicked off
A restaurant worker offers hand sanitizer to patrons in Miami’s South Beach on Friday
Patrons are greeted by masked restaurant workers at the Villa Casa Casuarina, located in the former Versace mansion in South Beach
Lines of cars are backed up with people seeking COVID-19 tests in Miami Beach Monday
‘From what they told me I did the proper things (to reopen), and now we’re at this point,’ Beltran said.
Infections are on the rise in 39 states, according to a Reuters tally, and 16 have posted record daily case counts in July.
The alarming surge in daily new cases, which has been averaging around 50,000, has prompted many local leaders, like Gimenez, to consider slowing down or rolling back business reopenings to curb infection rates that are already overwhelming hospitals in some areas.
‘We can tamp down the spread if everyone follows the rules, wears masks and stays at least six feet (2 meters) apart from others,’ Gimenez said in his statement announcing the emergency order.
Gimenez will allow office buildings, retail stores and grooming services to remain open ‘for now.’
A 10pm to 6am countywide curfew also will remain in effect, but with exceptions for essential workers and people observing religious obligations.
The mayor also encouraged residents to report anyone breaking the rollback rules by calling 305-476-5423-POLICE.