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Protesters gather to speak against indoor dining closures in Miami-Dade County

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A protest was held Friday in Miami-Dade County regarding the Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s order to re-close indoor dining at restaurants.

Protesters gathered outside the American Airlines arena, saying there was no data to prove that COVID-19 cases in the area were rising due to people dining at restaurants.

One protester held a sign that read “No science, no closures,” while another man standing next to him held a sign that read, “Miami has mouths to feed!”

“We disagree with Mayor Gimenez,” Buya Wynwood co-owner Jeff Grosser told Local 10 News. “We feel like this is a selective approach to a bigger problem that’s not restaurant-driven. We feel like we have the right to serve our guests and to work for a living and earn a wage.

Fellow Buya Wynwood co-owner Mike Sponaugle agreed.

“We feel that there’s power in numbers,” he said. “We have a voice, as well. We feel like there’s been selective enforcement with this. Everything else is open. You can go buy a swimsuit, go to a gym and then go to the beach, but we’ve got workers that can’t earn a wage now. They’ve got mouths to feed, as well, and we’re here to represent that.”

A spokeswoman for the group released an email a short time later, saying that they chose to wrap up the protest early due to a few people not associated with the group gathering with them and protesting “not wearing a mask.”

“We do not condone that behavior and do not want to be exposed to people like that,” the spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told reporters Friday that he spoke on the phone with Gimenez to discuss what can be done to slow coronavirus infections.

“There has to be communication,” he said. “You can’t make a decision of the magnitude that was made without communication. Secondly, we are going to need each other going forward.”

Suarez said data reveals the largest percentage of infections come from family members inside one home.

“One person gets sick, it takes them a few days to know they are sick, they ask to get tested, it takes days to get tested and then more to get results,” he said.

Hospitals are also feeling the brunt of growing infections.

“We do have an issue with our ICU capacity, which is at 11 percent,” Suarez said.

The mayors of some of Miami-Dade’s largest cities say data generated from contract tracing is crucial to guiding policy during the pandemic.

A total of 250 more contact tracers have been added through the end of the year.

This will help areas like Allapattah, which is considered a hot spot in Miami for coronavirus infections.

The Miami mayor handed out masks in the area Friday as just one way to try and curb the virus infections.

“The area code 33142, which is the area code which keeps coming up in the city of Miami as the area code with the most number of cases,” he said.


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