What to Know
- Commissioners have agreed to allow Miami restaurants to operate at 100% capacity under certain conditions
- Miami also won't be enforcing a curfew until midnight, pushing it back an hour
- City inspectors will still be making sure people follow mask and distancing rules
The City of Miami has loosened some of its restaurant restrictions and won't be enforcing its curfew until midnight.
The new guidelines were approved by city commissioners Thursday and allow restaurants to operate at 100% capacity as long as tables can be kept six feet apart and table capacity is limited to 10 people.
In altering the guidelines, commissioners touted concerns over small businesses surviving amid the coronavirus restrictions.
City inspectors will still be out and about making sure people are following mask and distancing rules.
"These new rules bring us one step closer to normalcy but we must remain responsible for ourselves and our loved ones," Miami Mayor Francis Suarez tweeted Friday.
Under the new guidelines, owners wouldn't have to explain their occupancy procedures to city officials, which is currently a requirement for restaurants in the county.
In addition to the restaurant guidelines, the city also won't be enforcing the curfew until midnight. Miami-Dade County still has an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew that can be enforced.
“They technically have the right to do that, we prefer that that not happen and that instead we’re able to work it out with the mayor," Suarez said. “The county has continued to ask for our support in enforcing the curfew but at the same time, they’ve refused to provide the city with any Cares Act money to fund our police, fire and enforcement services up until now and we’re hoping to get some of that Cares Act funding as quickly as possible.”
“We’re very excited about this new curfew time,” said Giannie Baptists, manager at 1-800 Lucky. “It’s going to bring back business around the neighborhood. We’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”
In a statement later Friday, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the county's curfew could be pushed to midnight as soon as Monday.
"I met with the County’s public health experts to determine if we can start the curfew at midnight instead of the current 11 p.m. We will monitor this weekend’s testing results and hospitalizations, and, if all remains stable, we plan to move the Countywide curfew to midnight until 6 a.m., with the allowable exceptions for essential businesses and services, starting Monday, October 12," Gimenez's statement read.
Some restaurant owners said the new guidelines and differing curfews left them confused.
“The City of Miami commissioners decided to extend the curfew to midnight which I believe is in disagreement with Miami-Dade County," said Christophe Petit, with La Sandwicherie in Wynwood. "We have been battling this whole nightmare for the last seven months now and what drives us crazy is there is not one rule, every city, county, state, even within Florida there is different rules."
Petit said the restaurant would be implementing the new midnight guideline Friday.
“We never even know who to believe since it changes so much. Lately it’s been a little better but it has been really hard so that news last night has been really welcome," Petit said. "Everybody is excited here to stay open til midnight so very very happy about it.”
Commissioners could re-evaluate the COVID-19 infection data in the next couple weeks and possibly reconsider or make other changes moving forward.