MIAMI – Gym owners got a reprieve Tuesday, finding out that they will no longer be forced to close as part of a new COVID-19 order that Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced Monday.
That came after Gimenez changed the order from closing all dine-in at restaurants to allow outdoor dining to continue.
Now, that order that had been targeted to start Wednesday won’t go into place until Thursday, the mayor announced late Tuesday night on Twitter.
I signed Amendment 2 to Emergency Order 26-20, prohibiting indoor dining at restaurants in Miami-Dade County, effective this Thursday. On-site dining can only take place outdoors. Only take-out & delivery service may be offered during nightly curfew hours of 10 pm & 6 am. (1/2)— Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez (@MayorGimenez) July 8, 2020
For Gimenez, the focus of the order is limiting places where the coronavirus can easily pass from person to person through the air.
“This is the best way to prevent us from contaminating each other because now we know it’s an airborne disease,” he said.
Gym owners convinced Gimenez they could maintain a safe environment during an 11 a.m. call with the mayor.
“There was so much pressure overnight — ‘Hey, you cant close gyms! You can’t close gyms!’ — that the county said, OK, we’ll do a Zoom meeting” said Gabriel Varona of Stunnah’s FIT in South Miami.
An hour before a planned protest, the mayor announced he had taken gyms and fitness centers off the list of planned re-closures.
“The new update is we have to wear a mask 24/7 in and out of training at all times and [stay] 10 ft apart,” Varona said.
I had a very productive virtual meeting just now with our medical experts and the County’s Wellness Group. We arrived at a compromise to keep gyms & fitness studios open. All doing activities inside must wear a mask or do strenuous training outside staying 10 feet apart w/outmask— Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez (@MayorGimenez) July 7, 2020
The mayor says the impending rollback stands for the county’s restaurants, a devastating blow to a hospitality industry that just reopened for a matter of weeks with new safety protocols in place.
A coalition of Miami restaurants sent a pointed letter to the mayor demanding evidence that compliant restaurant businesses had anything to do with the exploding COVID-19 numbers.
“When you look at the most at-risk places, churches, large gatherings, concerts, bars, gyms are on the list. Restaurants are never in the top five,” says state Sen. Jason Pizzo, D-North Miami, who represents many of those restaurant owners.
Read the full order below: