Some of Miami-Dade County could re-open May 18, mayor says

Beaches, bars, nightclubs, theaters will stay shuttered

MIAMI, Fla. – He’s talked about the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, now Miami-Dade County may see one.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez, speaking during a virtual news conference Friday, said that a target date to reopen the county is May 18, but he stressed that is just a target date.

“I’ve spoken to governor and he is in agreement that Miami-Dade should move forward in opening up certain sectors of the economy with a target date, and I stress a target date of May 18, so that people can get back to work."

(See the mayor’s news conference below)

The mayor was vague about precisely what will re-open May 18, but it is most likely to be some restaurants and retail businesses.

“Which businesses are going to open up on that target date, I want to say that’s a target date, it’s still up for discussion. The restaurant working group still has a little bit of work to do,” Gimenez said.

The mayor’s restaurant advisory board is finalizing rules and regulations for re-opening and are expected to release them next week. Other advisory groups are looking at rules for re-opening shopping malls and other retail shops.

“We want to put out some kind of ‘hey, prepare to open on this date and here’s what you have to do to open.’ ”

There will be safeguards and restrictions on how to reopen restaurants and retail with limited capacity.

He wants the reopenings to be safe, deliberate and science driven," he said.

He was emphatic that the county is not going to “just open up and go back to normal and everyone does what they want.” Gimenez said rules will be clear before any executive order is issued so that businesses can open up in a safe way.

One area that will not open up, if there are limited re-openings on May 18, will be beaches. Also, bars, nightclubs and movie theaters and other types of theaters will remain closed.

Gimenez stressed that May 18 is a firm date for county reopening. "This is only a target date,” he said.

Miami-Dade County restaurants and retail businesses have been closed for the more than a month since the coronavirus pandemic.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said at a Friday press conference in West Palm Beach that Miami-Dade and Broward counties are really important communities for the state of Florida to have up and running.

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About the Authors:

Michael Putney came to Local 10 in 1989 to become senior political reporter and host of "This Week In South Florida with Michael Putney." He is Local 10's senior political reporter. 

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local