‘This is Going to be a Long Process': City of Miami Discusses Plans to Reopen

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What to Know

  • City of Miami officials have a three phase process for reopening businesses and open spaces
  • Before reopening, there must be a downward trajectory in flu-like symptoms and new COVID-19 cases, and hospitals must be able to treat patients without crisis care
  • Officials say the reopening process will take 6 to 8 weeks

The City of Miami has begun discussing its plan to reopen its open spaces and businesses in the area as cities across Florida have already begun the process following the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

During a virtual press conference on Monday, Miami mayor Francis Suarez said three specific criteria must be met and confirmed by state health officials before the preliminary plan goes into effect.

“We are doing this intelligently, methodically and we’re also taking our time,” Suarez said.

According to the mayor, there must be a downward trajectory in flu-like symptoms and new COVID-19 cases. Also, hospitals must be able to treat patients without crisis care.

If these criteria are met over the course of 14 days, then, Suarez said, phase one of reopening will begin.

Phase one includes lifting the city’s curfew and shelter-in-place order (except for vulnerable individuals). Parks and beaches will reopen, as well as marinas, but people must still adhere to social distancing measures.

In the same phase, businesses will not be able to operate if their occupancy is more than 25%. Restaurants will still have to rely on delivery and take out.

“Unless, or until, we have a vaccine, you need to respect this new normal,” Suarez said.

If the criteria continues to be met for another two weeks, then phase two will be considered by city officials.

During that phase, businesses will be allowed to operate at an occupancy load no greater than 50%, and no more than 250 people can be allowed inside.

Restaurants can also reopen for business with specific restrictions. However, Suarez says those restrictions are still being discussed.

Movie theaters, music venues and bowling alleys will be allowed to reopen with social distancing norms being enforced.

The final phase will once again be implemented if the criteria is met for another 2 weeks.

Phase three would allow gyms and alcoholic services to reopen.

Altogether, Suarez says the process of reopening could take 6 to 8 weeks.

On Monday, Miami-Dade County released its plans to reopen the area’s parks, waterways and golf courses.

No start date was announced by the county, but City of Miami officials said they were confident they would not be at phase one even when the county starts its reopening process.

“I think we need to have a frank discussion with our residents so they can understand this is not going to be something that, at the end of April, come May, maybe even June, is going to be over,” City commissioner Joe Carollo said.

“This is going to be a long process. A very long process.”

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