Mayor Carlos Gimenez has ordered restaurants in Miami-Dade County to close their dine-in operations by Wednesday as Florida experiences a resurgence of coronavirus cases and an uptick in hospitalizations. Restaurants will still be allowed to handle carryout and delivery orders.
Florida reported more than 6,300 new COVID-19 cases statewide and 47 deaths on Monday for a total of 3,778 deaths since the pandemic began. The state’s positivity rate for coronavirus tests over the past week is more than 18 percent, four times higher than a month ago, according to WESH.
In a statement, Gimenez said he wants to “ensure that our hospitals continue to have the staffing necessary to save lives.”
He also ordered the closure of ballrooms, banquet facilities, party venues, gyms and fitness centers. Office buildings, retail stores and grooming services can stay open “for now,” he said.
Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert at Florida International University who helped Gimenez craft a reopening plan for Miami’s businesses, told the Miami Herald it will likely take weeks for COVID-19 cases to start going down in the region even with the closures. “It’s hard to tell today if we’ve done enough,” she said, because many people aren’t following rules of social distancing and wearing masks. “The most frustrating part of all is we squandered all the pain, agony and economic costs of the first lockdown by behaving inappropriately when we opened back up.”
Gimenez echoed her concerns, noting that young people were ignoring the rules and making the situation worse. “We are still tracking the spike in the number of cases involving 18- to 34-year-olds that began in mid-June, which the county’s medical experts say was caused by a number of factors, including young people going to congested places—indoors and outside—without taking precautions such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing,” Gimenez said in the statement. “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.”
“We can tamp down the spread if everyone follows the rules, wears masks and stays at least six feet apart from others,” he added. “I am counting on you, our 2.8 million residents, to stop the spread so that we can get back to opening our economy.”
Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which oversees alcoholic beverage licenses, last week instituted a temporary ban on the consumption of alcoholic beverages in bars.