Quarantine life: South Floridians buying up puzzles, games and bicycles

Bicycles, puzzles and games are flying off the shelves across South Florida as people continue to adjust to life at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. (WPLG)

MIAMI – The coronavirus pandemic has shuttered storefronts and is grinding business around South Florida to a halt.

But with lots of people now home, sales of several, particular items are actually up.

Local 10 viewers are reporting that stores like Target and Walmart are running out of puzzles and games. Another viewer shared a photo of the bicycle aisle at a Coral Springs Walmart Super Center: it was nearly empty.

Calls to other area Walmart's yielded similar results. A worker at a Hallandale Beach Walmart said there were only a few bicycles left.

At the Miami Beach Bicycle Center, which is allowed to stay open because it services police and other city employee bicycles, the repair business is booming.

“This is our family business. My dad started it 43 years ago,” said co-owner Alex Ruiz.

The store on 5th Street in South Beach has seen a steady stream of customers wanting to tune up old bikes that haven’t been used in months.

“In some cases, people have cabin fever and just need to get out. And the only thing they can do now is ride a bike,” Ruiz said.

But bike riding isn’t just for fun.

The New York Times reported a surge in biking around the city, because people want to avoid crowds still using public transit.

Ruiz says in a densely packed Miami Beach, bicycles are the main mode of transportation for many residents.

“Either you live and work here and you don’t need a car, or you can’t afford a car, or you can’t find parking,” he said. “We love to service our customers. People are scared, people are panicking, there’s not good news anywhere. So if we can help provide some smile to somebody and get them out on a bike and in fresh air, then we’re happy to do it.”

About the Author:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.