DAVIE, Fla. – As limited as Phase 1 reopening rules are, Monday has been a big day for South Florida business owners and customers.
Non-essential businesses in Miami-Dade and Broward could finally open their doors to eager customers — and even heavy rain couldn’t keep them away.
“I made the phone call yesterday — told them I’d be here at 9 o’clock in the morning,” said Quenton Spence, who was getting an early haircut Monday in Broward County.
Even Broward County Mayor Dale Holness took advantage. After not getting a haircut in more than two months, he stopped by the neighborhood unisex barbershop on Northwest Sixth Street to get that all-important cut while reiterating proper business protocols.
“We still wear our facial mask, we still practice social distancing,” the mayor said.
Despite the Phase 1 reopening in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, there are restrictions in place. Barbershops and hair and nail salons will be able to operate at a 25 percent capacity while restaurants may operate at 50 percent capacity, while also being able to use outdoor space for seating.
[SPECIAL COVERAGE: Reopening Rundown, what to expect]
The popular Floridian Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale has been closed for two months and employees have been looking forward to this day.
The owner and staff members have made changes as to how they will now operate.
“We took half of our seating out. You know, we’re 100 seats down. You see nothing on the table — no silverware, everything’s got to be done hands-on. It’s a whole new education. It’s like starting a new restaurant,” Floridian Restaurant owner Butch Samp said.
At Carl’s Barber Shop in Davie, Francisco Abreu said he’d be working seven days a week to make up for lost business.
Danny Mizrachi, owner of RH Beauty Salon in Aventura, was also meticulous in navigating the rules of a new normal.
“We booked one [customer] at a time,” he said. “We don’t take walk-ins. Everything has to be by appointment only.”
Mizrachi’s salon was also careful to limit the number of people coming in to 25% capacity.
Ilan Friedman, who got his first haircut in two months, said: “I’m going to be careful — as careful as can be — because that’s the new life.”
“The rules are pretty long, but this process has been very thorough, very deliberate — and using science every step of the way,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
And what about beaches?
Holnes and Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis say that they are targeting May 26 as the date to reopen their beaches. That tentative date would be a day after Memorial Day.
Miami-Dade County has decided to keep its beaches closed during this current phase.
Cities in Palm Beach County reopened their beaches Monday.
Counties vs. cities
Broward County is mostly in unison, with its cities opening together Monday.
The biggest difference is that city officials in Fort Lauderdale have allowed for commercial gyms to reopen at 50 percent capacity.
As it stands now in the county, only apartment, condo and housing complex gyms are permitted to reopen.
Fort Lauderdale mayor, local business leaders discuss city’s reopening
WATCH LIVE: Fort Lauderdale mayor, local business leaders discuss city’s reopening https://bit.ly/3bDDqG9Posted by WPLG Local 10 on Monday, May 18, 2020
Holness said Fort Lauderdale is in direct violation of the county’s order.
“The governor’s order allows for that to happen, but it allows for local government — counties — to be more stringent. We are more stringent on that,” Holness said. “So we have a disagreement. Hopefully, we can work it out.”
Meanwhile, in Miami-Dade County, nonessential businesses reopened to the public with the exception of businesses in the cities of Miami, Miami Beach, Hialeah and Miami Gardens.
Gimenez attended a news conference earlier in the day at a new walk-up coronavirus testing site in Opa-locka, where he addressed the county’s new normal.
“While we keep moving to a new normal to restore our vibrant economy, we will always continue to make safety and health the top priority for all 2.8 million residents of Miami-Dade County,” Gimenez said.
Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis gave the green light for all of Florida to begin Phase 1 of reopening.
Restaurants, stores, salons and barbershops are open with social distancing, limited capacity and mask requirements.
But Phase 1 isn’t kicking off just yet for the most populous cities within Miami-Dade.
“We’re going to go slower than other parts of the county and certainly other parts of the state,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said.
“Our city’s taking a cautious approach because we have the most cases in the state of Florida,” City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said.
Hialeah, Miami, Miami Beach and Miami Gardens are holding off and opening retail businesses on Wednesday.
Restaurants in Hialeah, Miami and Miami Beach will open the following Wednesday on May 27.
Miami Gardens will likely wait until June 1 to open their restaurants.