Coronavirus hot zone: Hialeah mayor asks residents to think about elderly during reopening

HIALEAH, Fla. – Hialeah is the second city in Florida with the most confirmed coronavirus cases after the City of Miami. Despite this, the unemployment crisis has been so severe, Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernández allowed retail and commercial establishments to reopen Wednesday.

To deliver his reopening day message, Hernández partnered with Leon Medical Centers, a healthcare services provider for Medicare recipients. He helped to distribute groceries at Daisy & Rosa Gardens, an apartment complex for seniors.

Without a coronavirus vaccine, it is not business as usual. Hernández said it is important for the city’s residents, workers and business owners to think about those who are most at risk of dying if they don’t follow the new rules during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I hope that in our community that we all stand together and realize that this virus is still here,” Hernández said. “Just because we are doing this phase fo reopening, it doesn’t mean that it is gone.”

Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernández visits the Daisy & Rosa Gardens apartment complex on Wednesday in Hialeah. (Local 10 News)

About 85% of the deaths in Florida have been coronavirus patients aged 65 and older. And nearly 20% of Hialeah’s residents belong to this at-risk population, according to the U.S. Census. Hernández said Hialeah residents can’t forget about what they can do to protect them and the economy.

“It is still very serious and what we do now as a community as individuals it’s going to decide when that second phase is going to come and if there is going to be the third phase or if not,” Hernández said, adding a second lockdown was a possibility if there was a sharp rise in cases again.


A man waits for his order in front of a walk-up window at a restaurant on Thursday in Hialeah. (Local 10 News)


Next Wednesday, restaurants, and foodservice establishments will be able to reopen too. Hernández said he will also be personally delivering checks to the beneficiaries of the city’s $2 million Save Our Business fund.

Restaurants had been allowed to continue delivery and take-out operations. Next week some employees might be able to get their jobs back. Gimenez and Gov. Ron DeSantis allowed restaurants in Miami-Dade County to reopen with 50% indoor capacity and 50% outdoor capacity.

The city is requiring facemasks for residents, including children age two and older. Code enforcement officers and police officers will be issuing warnings to people who are not wearing facemasks or who are in violation of the six-foot distancing guideline.

Not allowed to reopen: Gyms or fitness studios, bars, pubs, nightclubs, cocktail lounges, cabarets, massage parlors, tattoo parlors, banquet halls, movie theaters, bowling alleys, playhouses, auditoriums, concert houses, arcades, casinos, hotels, motels and vacation rentals or other commercial lodging establishments.

A nurse checks the temperature of a person arriving at the Epworth Village Retirement Community Wednesday in Hialeah. (Local 10 News)


Hernández and Gimenez have said these rules are meant to help slow the spread of the deadly respiratory illness. There have been 2,087 people diagnosed with the disease in Hialeah, according to the Florida Department of Health’s May 19 data.

Hialeah Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and Professional Home Care I are among the long-term care facilities in the city reporting fatal cases. DeSantis is still not allowing visitations at long-term care facilities in Florida.

For more information about reopening safety rules during the coronavirus pandemic, call The Florida COVID-19 Call Center at 📞 1-866- 779-6121.

New COVID-19 testing site opens in Hialeah

Hot zones

Hialeah’s post office areas

  • Zip Code 33012 (Areas of Hialeah and Hialeah Gardens): 591 people diagnosed
  • Zip Code 33016 (Areas of Hialeah, Hialeah Gardens, Country Club and Miami Lakes): 341 people diagnosed
  • Zip Code 33015 (Areas of Miami Lakes, Miramar, Country Club and Palm Springs North): 331 people diagnosed
  • Zip Code 33010 (Areas of Hialeah, Medley and Miami Springs): 329 people diagnosed

Source: Florida Department of Health May 20, 2020 data

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.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.