DeSantis to Reopen Florida Restaurants May 4 — But Not in Miami or Fort Lauderdale

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

At 5 p.m. yesterday evening, on the eve of the expiration of his monthlong "Safer at Home" order, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Phase One of his reopening plan for Florida, entitled, "Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step."

Notably, the order does not apply to Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.

As part of Phase One, restaurants and retail stores will be allowed to reopen with some restrictions as of Monday, May 4.

Restaurants will be permitted to operate with outdoor seating that allows six feet of space between tables. Indoor dining rooms may reopen at 25 percent capacity. Bars are to remain closed.

Social-distancing rules will remain in effect, and face masks are recommended when social-distancing isn't possible or during face-to-face interactions. Groups of more than 10 are still prohibited.

Gyms, movie theaters, hair salons, and other personal services are to remain closed. Same goes for schools. Visits to senior facilities are prohibited.

Before he laid out his plan, DeSantis channeled Franklin D. Roosevelt, declaring that "the only thing we have to fear is letting fear overwhelm us" and that the biggest obstacle we have is the "fear, doom, and gloom that has permeated our culture." (As opposed to, say, the paucity of available testing for a virus with neither cure nor vaccine, one whose statewide numbers stand at 33,193 confirmed cases and 1,218 deaths.)

According to DeSantis, government officials in southeast Florida mutually agreed that their counties should continue on their own path. (At daybreak Wednesday, marinas, golf courses, and parks got the green light to reopen in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, though the City of Miami and Hialeah abstained, as did Hollywood and Pembroke Pines.)

So far, the only mention of a plan to reopen restaurants in Miami-Dade came from Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy L. Morales, who estimated June 8 as the earliest date to implement the first phase of a proposal to reopen Miami Beach restaurants.

Stephanie Vitori, owner of Cheeseburger Baby, is glad Miami Beach was excluded from DeSantis' order. "As much as I'm hurting, I don't think we should open yet," she says, citing the fact that COVID-19 cases haven't yet reached the benchmark where they've decreased for 14 days straight. "I don't want to open, have a spike in COVID cases, and be set back another ten weeks."

Adds Vitori: "I'm in it every day. I'm at my restaurant. I'm wearing a mask. You don't think I'm scared? We're trying to survive, but to open right now would be crazy."

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.