Mayors throughout Miami-Dade County discuss Phase 1 reactivation plan

MIAMI – City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez announced Wednesday in a virtual news conference with other local leaders that the cities of Miami, Miami Beach, North Bay Village, Doral, Miami Gardens, Hialeah and the Village of Key Biscayne have worked together to ensure that their phases of reopening are “in line with each other.”

He said marinas in Miami will reopen Thursday followed by some parks and non-essential businesses, including retail stores, throughout those locations next Wednesday.

Hair salons and barbershops will be among the businesses in Miami, Miami Beach and Hialeah that reopen Wednesday.

Restaurants in Miami are expected to reopen the following Wednesday, on May 27, although much of the rest of the county is expected to reopen restaurants on Monday, Suarez said.

Social distancing measures will be in place at all establishments.

The City of Doral confirmed that its mayor was invited to participate in the press conference, but he will be unable to attend due to a previously scheduled appointment.

“However, he has spoken to Mayor Suarez and shared his thoughts,” a statement from the city read. “The City has been in several meetings with the City of Miami mayor as well as Miami-Dade County mayor discussing the next steps for reopening.”

Officials from the City of Homestead told Local 10 News reporter Christina Vazquez that its mayor was not invited to participate in the press conference.

“Homestead’s mayor and city manager have been participating in the weekly League of Cities and Miami-Dade County Management Association calls and briefing,” a statement from the city read.

The city said it would announce their reopening plan “in coordination with the guidelines to be issued by Miami-Dade County.”

The assistant of Coral Gables’ Mayor Raúl Valdés-Fauli also confirmed that he was not invited to participate in Wednesday’s news conference.

North Miami’s mayor was also not invited.

“I am not aware of the announcement, I am not going to participate and I am not committed to anything until I have a chance to see it,” North Miami Mayor Philippe Bien-Aime told Local 10 News. “The safety and the health of the citizens are my top priority right now.”

“I have been briefed on a weekly basis of those meetings between Mayor Gimenez and the Board of Miami-Dade League of Cities during a weekly conference with the Miami-Dade Conference of Mayors, but I don’t really feel Mayor Gimenez has taken consideration of cities’ recommendations,” Bien-Aime added in an email to Vazquez. “Real data about testing, contact tracing and isolation of positive cases of COVID-19 have not been provided by the County’s Department of Health in relation to the City of North Miami. I have also received complaints about the working testing site located in North Miami where people’s results have taken more than week to be received.”

Mayors for Virginia Gardens and the Town of Medley also did not participate in Wednesday’s news conference.

Meanwhile, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez on Wednesday released the county’s new guidelines to reopen some non-essential businesses on Monday. Those businesses include restaurants, hair and nail salons, retail stores, factories, and warehouses. Gimenez said the reopening of beaches is not included in Phase 1.

According to the Miami Herald, beaches in Miami Beach will remain closed until at least June.

“You’re going to be wearing masks. You’re going to have separation. There’s going to be capacity limitations on businesses,” Gimenez said Tuesday at a food distribution event outside Marlins Park in Little Havana.

Gimenez said he expects more Miami-Dade residents to test positive for the contagious respiratory illness as testing increases during the reopening process. He said Miami-Dade’s hospital capacity is sufficient.

“I look at how many people are in the hospital, how many people need ventilators, what’s the capacity of our health system to cover,” Gimenez said. “We have well over 3,000 empty hospital room beds. We have over 900 empty ventilators.”

About the Authors:

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."

Layron Livingston made the move from Ohio's Miami Valley to Miami, Florida, to join the Local 10 News team.