On May 27, Miami Beach restaurants were allowed to open their dining rooms at 50 percent occupancy, but many restaurants still aren't seeing the business they normally would.
Today, beaches in Miami-Dade are officially allowed to reopen, marking yet another step toward normalcy.
Restaurants and hotels in Miami Beach face a long road to recovery. Coronavirus, protests, and a citywide curfew don't mesh with the vision of a place better known for swaying palm trees and the light mist of mojitos and sea air.
With its new "From Miami Beach With Love" campaign, the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority (MBVCA) is asking local travelers and locals to return to the beach.
At the heart of the campaign are some of the chefs and foodies who filmed videos. Gio Guitterez from Chat Chow TV, LT Steak and Seafood's Andrew Zarzosa, David's Cafe owner Adrian Gonzalez, and Benjamin Goldman from Planta were all tasked with answering the question, "Why I Love Miami Beach," on film.
In addition, people who share their Miami Beach experiences on Instagram (@experiencemiamibeach), Twitter (@miamibeach), and Facebook could win an experience box filled with goodies from iconic Miami Beach establishments like the Betsy Hotel and Joe's Stone Crab.
Grisette Roque Marcos, executive director of the MBVCA, says the campaign is aimed at people within an eight-hour drive of Miami Beach, as well as locals who want to reconnect with the city's restaurants, beach, and attractions. "The goal is to lure people here while supporting local businesses," she says. We want to invite people back to the beach and come back to the sun."
Marcos says Miami Beach restaurants are a big focus. "I think restaurants are slowly coming back. There's the extra footprint on Ocean Drive and Lincoln Road, and I think that helps," she says, referring to the city's decision to close streets to vehicular traffic in order to create additional space for outdoor seating.
The MBVCA executive is quick to point out that locals especially can benefit from this period of reopening. Fewer crowds mean no traffic jams and ample parking. "We want our local residents to experience Miami Beach while it's not so crowded. Sometimes we ignore our own backyard. Now is the perfect time to take a staycation."
Marcos also points out that Miami Spice, usually a two-month-long restaurant dining promotion, has started early this year. The promotion, which already started, runs through the end of September and offers $25 three-course lunches and $39 three-course dinners at participating eateries. "What a great opportunity to try a restaurant that you may not have gone to. "
Marcos suggests exploring the city beyond South Beach. "I'd suggest parking your car on 21st Street and walking north on the boardwalk. You'll have beautiful views of the ocean. There's a lot of beauty and diversity in Miami Beach."
If all that walking works up an appetite, take the advice of Gio Guitterez who gushes about South Beach's Macchialina in his video. "It's incredible Italian sharing food." After nearly three months without human contact, sharing a meal while supporting a local restaurant sounds like a great idea.