Miami-Dade County mayor hosts town hall ahead of Phase 1 reopening

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez speaks during Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce roundtable on coronavirus crisis. (WPLG)

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez held a virtual town hall Friday afternoon to answer questions ahead of the county’s planned Phased 1 reopening on Monday.

On Thursday, Gimenez released a 184-page guide titled “The New Normal” that has guidelines for residents and businesses in dealing with the next phase.

Click here to view the reopening guidelines for Miami-Dade County, as well as Broward County.

He clarified Friday that while Gov. Ron DeSantis announced earlier in the day that the state will move into a full Phase 1 reopening next Monday and will reopen gyms, fitness centers and gyms in Miami-Dade County will remain closed for the time being.

Gimenez said community pools will also not open yet because social distancing measures are harder to enforce in those places. He said more things will reopen as officials feel it is safe to do so.

All cities in Miami-Dade County will begin their Phase 1 reopening on Monday except for Hialeah, Miami, Miami Beach and Miami Gardens, which will have a slower reopening process.

“We just didn’t think Monday was enough time. We want to make sure also that there isn’t a rush between cities,” City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said on Friday.

Suarez answered questions Friday during a Miami food distribution event about the Wednesday Phase 1 reopening of the four major cities in the county.

The cities’ leaders united with the date that falls two days after the county’s Phase 1 reopening.

“We want to see how the county’s roll out happens to see if there’s any adjustments that we need to make,” Suarez said.

Suarez said beginning Wednesday retail will be open to 25 percent capacity in the four cities with social distancing measures in place, but spots like gyms, movie theaters and large venues will remain closed.

He said the cities’ leaders wanted to give businesses time to read and understand the new rules and purchase any necessary supplies to be compliant, such as face shields and plexiglass.

“Restaurants will be open a week from this Wednesday -- the 27th,” Suarez said.

The mayor stressed the gravity of compliance.

“If we don’t respect the guidelines, we don’t respect the rules, we can very, very quickly return back to where we were and, unfortunately, have to re-close things and that’s something that we want to avoid,” he said.

Restaurants and retail stores in all other parts of Miami-Dade County are among the businesses that will be permitted to reopen next Monday.

Bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, other types of theaters and beaches are not part of the Phase 1 reopening in either county.

Face masks must be worn at all businesses. People may remove their masks only when seated at restaurants.

Gimenez said people should feel safe going to restaurants because they are required to maintain social distancing and waiters will be wearing masks as they serve patrons.

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