Reopenings revive Wynwood’s nightlife after DeSantis lifts restrictions during pandemic

After Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted restrictions, Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood was busy on Friday night and it could get even more crowded — despite the coronavirus pandemic.

DeSantis announced on Friday that Florida is moving into reopening Phase 3. This means businesses such as bars, nightclubs, lounges, and restaurants are able to reopen although the 11 p.m. curfew remains.

Also, local authorities are not legally able to limit businesses’ capacity to less than 50% without good reason. COVID-19 positive hospitalizations are down 76% since the July peak.

The same applies to Miami Beach and other nightlife epicenters in South Florida. Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said he was surprised when he learned about DeSantis' announcement.

“I don’t think anybody in Dade County knew this was coming,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said, adding that he believes the move is political and unsafe in COVID-19 hot zones.

In Wynwood, many business owners welcomed the news. Rocco Carulli, the co-owner of R House Wynwood, a restaurant and art gallery on Second Avenue.

“I think it’s going to be great even for Wynwood itself to have the bars open. To have the foot traffic back. To have the liveliness back,” Carulli said.

DeSantis' announcement also prevents counties from fining people who are not wearing a face mask in public. Counties may still be able to enforce mask mandates inside businesses.

Most restauranteurs in Wynwood said they will still be asking their employees and customers to use face coverings.

“I don’t want anybody to take it too far. We are at a point where we want to follow the rules and keep going,” Carulli said. “It’s still a balance.”

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About the Author:

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.