Business owners in Miami-Dade prepare to reopen once DeSantis gives Gimenez green light

Gimenez asks DeSantis to allow restaurants to reopen with 50% indoor capacity and 50% outdoor capacity

DORAL, Fla. – David Olmo’s whimsical business is full of candy, fruit, ice cream and baked waffle cones, cookies and brownies. His long menu includes desserts like the Circus Box and the Sand Castle sundaes, which are served on toys. Olmo said he is ready to reopen his Sloan’s Ice Cream at CityPlace Doral.

On Wednesday afternoon, his whimsical chandeliers were sparkling. To keep his customers safe during the coronavirus pandemic, Olmo said he has done deep cleaning and disinfecting. He also has a new supply of clean toys waiting for a home.

Olmo said his employees will be following more strict procedures and his customers will enjoy their cool sweets in the outdoor area. He set up markers on the floor to help guests adhere to the 6-foot social distancing guidelines.

“No one will be permitted inside without a mask ... Everybody has to do their part,” Olmo said.

Olmo is among the business owners who are waiting for Gov. Ron DeSantis to approve Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s guidelines and plan to allow some non-essential businesses to reopen on Monday. The plan does not include gyms, nightclubs, bars, movie theaters, hotels or beaches.

Gimenez is asking DeSantis to allow restaurants in Miami-Dade to reopen at 50% capacity and four people to a table. DeSantis initial reopening guidelines set the limited capacity at 25%. Gimenez said once DeSantis approves the plan he will issue an executive order with more specific guidelines.

“If cities want to do their own plan, they can, but it can’t be any less stringent than what the county is putting out and what they have to abide by,” Gimenez said, adding that “whatever Miami-Dade County allows and whenever the governor allows it ... then that will be what folks should look at."

Kuba Cabana restaurant won't be reopening indoor or outdoor seating Monday. (Local 10 News Share)

Steps away from Sloan’s Ice Cream, Kuba Cabana, a restaurant that opened in January, has no plans to provide indoor or outdoor seating yet. Levy Gomez, the Cuban restaurant’s manager, said they have been running on take-out and delivery.

“We want to see what the reaction will be,” Gomez said about whether or not there will be a demand during the pandemic.


Hialeah, Miami Beach, Miami to reopen later next week; Miami Gardens to reopen in June

Not every city in Miami-Dade agrees with Gimenez plan to reopen on Monday. The City of Miami, Miami Beach and Hialeah are aiming to reopen retail stores and grooming salons on May 20 and restaurants on May 27. Miami Gardens is preparing to reopen June 1st.

Although Miami Beach won’t be reopening on Monday, Millie Distra, of the Pizza Days restaurant on Ocean Drive and Fifth Street is getting ready to follow the social distancing guidelines even though the hotels and the beach will be closed.

“It’s really hard for us,” Distra said, adding “usually we have tables inside, but now they distance them like 6 feet, so maybe we’ll put some tables here, and then outside.”

Timeline (Local 10 News Share)
Hialeah guidelines (Local 10 News Share)

About the Authors:

Roy Ramos joined the Local 10 News team in 2018. Roy is a South Florida native who grew up in Florida City. He attended Christopher Columbus High School, Homestead Senior High School and graduated from St. Thomas University.

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."