Despite recommendations by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Miami-Dade County will allow indoor dining as of Monday, Aug. 31. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez made the announcement at a news conference Tuesday, after reportedly giving local city mayors advance notice in an earlier phone call.
“It’s a good thing for the local economy,” said Jean-Paul Cadotte, chef and owner of Yardie Spice in Homestead. “More people will come back to sit down and enjoy a meal … We plan on reopening probably next Tuesday.” The current 10 p.m. restaurant curfew will remain in place until at least Labor Day, to limit holiday crowds.
This comes after Fauci advised Gimenez to stay the course during an Aug. 14 conference call with health experts and local government administrators. Flattening the COVID-19 curve has always been dependent on a 5% infection rate over a two-week period. Miami-Dade County’s rate remains approximately double that. Gimenez, who is in the middle of a run for a U.S. Congress seat, is reportedly buckling to pressure from cities, restaurant owners and Republican Party leaders. This will be the second time restaurants attempt to resume indoor dining, knowing full well they could be shut down again if COVID-19 rates begin to spike. The current restrictions have been in place since the July 4th holiday. Like the first opening, indoor capacity will be limited to 50%.
Restaurants also will have to abide by the following additional guidelines:
•Doors and windows must remain open during service.
•Air-conditioners must be kept running continuously.
•A maximum of six people allowed at each table, inside or outside.
•No eating or drinking at the bar.