Miami-Dade restaurants reopen dining rooms to eager customers

Casinos in the county also welcomed back players Monday

Miami-Dade restaurants were so glad to get back to some normalcy Monday, welcoming people back inside of their dining rooms for indoor service.

MIAMI – Miami-Dade restaurants were so glad to get back to some normalcy Monday, welcoming people back inside of their dining rooms for indoor service.

So were customers like Pamela Kearns, who was the first in Jimmy’s Eastside Diner and was eagerly awaiting to get back to one of her favorite spots.

“I’ve been waiting for this,” she said. “I hate ordering it and then taking it home.”

County Mayor Carlos Gimenez banned indoor dining in early July due to the spike in COVID-19 cases. Now, with those cases declining and with the positivity rate steadily below 10% percent in the county, he is allowing people back in..

The manager at Jimmy’s says times have been tough, and they’ve done what they can to make ends meet by staying open for takeout, but the reopening of their dining room was highly anticipated.

Residents of Miami-Dade County were excited to return to restaurant dining rooms on Monday. Casinos in the county also reopened as restrictions relaxed following a decline in COVID-19 positivity rates.

There are still some restrictions. Dining room capacities are limited to 50 percent, with no more than six people at a table. Doors and windows must be open to allow for fresh air to circulate, and air conditioning and fans must be on while people are inside the restaurant.

Bar areas are still closed at restaurants, and diners must wear masks when not eating or drinking.

Steven Perricone, who owns Perricone’s Marketplace & Cafe, had relocated and reopened his restaurant back in March, after a nearly year-and-half long renovation...

“I opened about, eight days before the COVID closure,” he said.

They remained open for delivery and takeout for a stretch, but as coronavirus cases ticked up in the spring, Perricone “made the decision to protect my staff and my guests” and closed for about a month.

After several ups and downs, Perricone greeted diners sitting inside his restaurant Monday — wearing his mask, of course.

“Gentleman, it’s great to see you,” he said. “I’m actually smiling back here. It’s good to see you.”

Casinos also reopen

Miami-Dade’s casinos were also allowed to reopen Monday for the first time since July. (Tribal-owned casinos had not been affected.)

Thermal scanners have joined the other machines inside Magic City Casino.

“We’re happy to have our guests back,” said casino publicist Sandra Rodriguez. “We were closed for close to two additional months.”

Eating and drinking at gaming tables and slot machines is off-limits at this point, though.

“The social distancing’s great,” one gambler said. “The machines are spaced out. People constantly walking around cleaning the machines. So, it’s a great effort.”

The county’s 10 p.m. curfew remains in place for now even at these newly reopened venues.

To see the full rules and regulations for restaurants and casinos in the latest county order, click here.

About the Authors:

Layron Livingston made the move from Ohio's Miami Valley to Miami, Florida, to join the Local 10 News team.

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.