Florida Restaurants May Reopen May 4 — But Not in Miami or Fort Lauderdale

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Last night at 5pm, on the eve of his month-long Safer at Home order expiring, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced the first phase of his Florida reopening plan, “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step.” . “”

In particular, the order does not apply to the counties of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.

As part of the first phase, restaurants and retail stores can reopen from Monday May 4th with some restrictions.

Restaurants are allowed to work with outdoor seating that is two meters between tables. Indoor dining rooms can be reopened with a capacity of 25 percent. Bars should remain closed.

Social distancing rules remain in place, and face masks are recommended when social distancing is not an option or when face-to-face interactions occur. Groups of more than 10 people are still prohibited.

Gyms, cinemas, hair salons and other personal services are to remain closed. The same goes for schools. Visits to senior facilities are prohibited.

Before setting out his plan, DeSantis channeled Franklin D. Roosevelt, stating that “the only thing we must fear is that fear overwhelms us” and that the greatest obstacle we face is “fear, fate and the.” The darkness that has pervaded our “is culture.” (Contrasted, for example, with the lack of available tests for a virus with no cure or vaccine, which has 33,193 confirmed cases and 1,218 deaths nationwide.)

According to DeSantis, government officials in southeast Florida agreed that their counties should continue on their own path. (At dawn Wednesday, marinas, golf courses, and parks were given the go-ahead to reopen in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, though the city of Miami and Hialeah, as well as Hollywood and Pembroke Pines, abstained.)

The only mention of a Miami-Dade restaurant reopening plan so far came from Miami Beach City manager Jimmy L. Morales, who said June 8 was the earliest deadline for implementing the first phase of a Miami restaurant reopening proposal Beach looked at.

Stephanie Vitori, owner of Cheeseburger Baby, is happy that Miami Beach was banned from DeSantis’ order. “As much as I hurt myself, I don’t think we should open up yet,” she says, citing the fact that COVID-19 cases have not yet hit the benchmark where they have dropped for 14 days in a row. “I don’t want to open, spike in COVID cases and be reset for another ten weeks.”

Vitori adds, “I’m there every day. I’m in my restaurant. I wear a mask. Don’t you think I’m scared? We’re trying to survive, but opening it now would be crazy.”

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Laine Doss is the food and liquor editor for the Miami New Times. It was featured on Eat Street by Cooking Channel and in the Great Food Truck Race by Food Network. She won an Alternative Weekly Award for her contribution on what it’s like to wait for tables.

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