Miami Gardens is opening slower than other cities, and here’s why

Miami Gardens is taking a slower, more cautious approach to reopening than the other big cities in South Florida.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Miami Gardens reopened retail stores Wednesday with capacity limitations, much like the City of Miami, Miami Beach and Hialeah.

Unlike those other three major Miami-Dade cities, Miami Gardens isn’t opening barbershops and hair salons. There’s no target date for those.

And unlike those other cities, which plan to open restaurants May 27, Miami Gardens says that won’t happen until at least June.

Mayor Oliver Gilbert explains why:

“My hometown is the largest predominantly African-American city in the state of Florida,” Gilbert said Wednesday. “The co-morbidities that exist for Miami Gardens residents — the high blood pressure, the diabetes, the asthma, the respiratory stuff, the sickle-cell anemia — [these are] things that if you have these pre-conditions, COVID-19 is especially dangerous for you.

“And so you’re seeing us be a little more cautious.”

Gilbert’s stance is backed up by a study done in Miami-Dade last month that showed African-Americans seem to be twice as likely to get the virus.

Gilbert said expanding testing and adding contact tracing will give local leaders and people the information they need to live their everyday lives, but for now, he’s operating under the mindset that “we can rebuild an economy; I know no meaningful way to give someone back a loved one.”

Over 750 businesses in Miami Gardens did have the ability to reopen with some operational conditions Wednesday.

Danita Chestnut was excited to be out shopping with her daughter Daryelle Denson, who was picking out a virtual reality headset.

“Oh my god, it is just amazing to get out of the house,” Chestnut said.

Chestnut did add, though, that she agreed with Gilbert’s approach of reopening the city slowly.

“I do agree with him. I do think health comes first.”

READ MORE: Phase 1 reopening rundown for Miami-Dade, Broward counties

About the Author:

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."