Opening up the tourist spots in South Florida can’t come soon enough. Air traffic is down 90% at Miami International Airport, and the ships at Port Miami might as well be on dry land.
On Wednesday, Miami-Dade tourism leaders and Mayor Carlos Gimenez were brainstorming over how to get the economic engines up and running.
In trendy Wynwood - which is full of bars and restaurants that visitors come to see, especially to enjoy the nightlife - the streets are empty. The question is, when will they see some foot traffic here?
NBC 6 found out from Gimenez that by Friday, they will have a plan to present to Gov. Ron DeSantis on reopening tourist spots in Miami-Dade.
At Candle Land Miami, they were just about to open and have scents from the candles their customers make flowing into Wynwood. Then came COVID-19. They were encouraged to hear Miami-Dade has a team of tourist leaders soon presenting a plan to the governor for a comeback.
“This has been a very difficult time for us because we were just about to open the store, and unfortunately, this virus that has hit the tat and worldwide has prevented us from opening the store,” manager Diana Pujols said. "Hopefully, opening the store and getting back to normal the store will be flourishing."
The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau produced a new glitzy promo video showing off the Florida Everglades, South Florida beaches and lots of smiling faces with the message that COVID-19 can’t stop Miami from always shining.
“I do see a light at the end of the tunnel, and that’s a good sign,” Gimenez said.
Gimenez was on a webinar with tourist leaders developing their strategy plan that will make its way to DeSantis.
“We have to somehow get this hospitality industry open again. We’ve got to find a way to open the beaches again. Like I said, we are not going to do it right now, but like I said, they are kind of linked with Miami Beach and all. But then how to do it in a way that protects the health and welfare of our citizens,” Gimenez said.
Bill Talbert, the head of the Convention and Visitors Bureau and Miami’s number one salesman, says he’s already gotten a good reaction from other parts of the country to the promo spot.
“We got a great response—great support. I can tell you we have some conventions that are booked in September, medical conventions at the Miami Beach Convention Center that are looking forward to coming here in September,” Talbert said.
The mayor says he thinks the governor will issue orders opening up other areas of the state, but will give Miami-Dade and the rest of Southeast Florida leeway to make the decisions on opening the beaches and businesses because of the number of COVID-19 cases. Gimenez says with whatever they come up with on opening the county, they need to be able to have a plan they can actually enforce that will be done in phases.