93ºF

Rain, pandemic cause Miami Beach businesses to take major holiday weekend hit

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A holiday weekend washout left South Beach looking deserted on Memorial Day.

The beaches were bare Monday along the famed Ocean Drive, and so too were the businesses.

The shoreline is still shuttered in Miami-Dade County until next week.

Restaurants in Miami Beach, however, are open for takeout, but are making just a fraction of their normal holiday business.

“It has been very tough for us, obviously since mid-March,” business owner Domenico Daddio said.

Daddio runs both a gelato shop and pasta restaurant and said this weekend would traditionally be one of his biggest moneymakers of the entire year.

He said so far, business is down nearly 80 percent.

“It’s always been one of the best three days of our year,” Daddio said. “Obviously right now, with this weather and the COVID-19, it’s been a disaster so far.”

The now empty and eerie South Beach streets are serving as a stark contrast to previous years when partiers from all over the country would converge on South Beach for what’s known as “Urban Beach Week.”

Brian Scheinblum, who owns the historic Majestic Hotel, said normally just finding a room during this time of year would be a tough task.

“All the properties here make the majority of our profits during the January to May period, and the summer is the off-season. So hopefully we’ll be able to generate some cash flow to help support the business," he said.

After shutting down more than two months ago, Scheinblum’s staff is now preparing to reopen next month after the county cleared the way for hotels to open their doors on June 1.

“Besides the various sanitary requirements that we’re going to have to do, when guests check in we’re going to give them a bag with some masks and some sanitizer, as well," Scheinblum said.

The timing coincides with the county’s plan to reopen beaches -- something these business owners hope will provide a brief boost to their bottom lines.

“We’re definitely looking forward to seeing what happens," Scheinblum said. “Obviously Miami and Miami Beach is a big fly-in market, so that’s going to be a bit of a change. But hopefully the locals will come out and support our businesses.”

While the crowds are gone this year, business owners are setting their sights on June 1, hoping the beaches reopening will bring in a few extra bucks.

“I don’t think we’re going to see any foreign tourists for this summer,” Daddio said. “But I think that the Americans that will not go abroad will come to Miami Beach -- because it’s still Miami Beach.”


About the Author: