MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade and Miami Beach have announced that all bars, lounges, and entertainment venues will be close to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
This will include places like bowling alleys, movie theaters, and fitness centers.
“This is not something we did lightly – not something we wanted to do,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez. “I know that is going to have a negative impact effect on a lot of people.”
The following businesses are not affected by the entertainment establishment closure order: grocery stores; food banks; pharmacies; and commissaries, cafeterias, and restaurants located entirely within hospitals, nursing homes or similar facilities.
Inside dining at restaurants will not be allowed. They will be able to provide food through take-out, drive-thru, or delivery.
“This is a terrible moment for us,” said Felipe Vals, the President of the Versailles and LaCaretta restaurants. “We have over 2,000 employees. This is very difficult for us. This is heartbreaking for us.”
Stephen Sawitz, the owner of the iconic Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant on South Beach, said “Our fishermen are starting to pull their traps out of the water. But we are here for our employees. We need more help but we are taking care of everyone for as long as we can. There is no way that we are going to let this beat us.”
Sawitz said, “The mood is very somber and very supportive. One beautiful thing is how many people came up to me and asked me how I was doing.”
“I believe were are going to get through this,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. “There’s going to be sunshine in the Sunshine State and at the end of the day. “One of the reasons we are taking such difficult steps now is because we want that to come sooner than later. We need to start doing this now so that hopefully we can get out this dark moment as fast as possible.”
Gelber told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “We are going to get this in our rearview mirror because of our resilient character of the people who built these institutions.”
The measures, decreed in a county emergency order, will go into effect on Wednesday.
The county emergency order will be in effect for a period of up to seven days and may be extended if necessary.
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Miami Mayor Francis Suarez signed similar order that will shut down all restaurants, bars, gyms, nightclubs, movie theaters, bowling alleys, live music venues and arcades in the city of Miami.
Restaurant kitchens can remain open and food can be sold as take out or delivery.
Miami’s new order will take effect at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday.
However, thousands are expected to be laid off as these businesses close.
Julio Vasquez, a waiter at Pane Vino on Washington Avenue on Miami Beach, told D’Oench, “I am really really worried, I just moved into an apartment and I had counted on money coming in.
The general manager of Pane Vino, Pasquale Montesano, said “We are very very worried because we don’t know how long this will go on for. We could be closed for dining a week, 2 weeks, a month or two months.”
Nearby Claudio Torres, the General manager of Espanola Cigar Bar and Lounge, said, “We are very concerned. Not just for our business but for our employees. They are like family to us. I have cut hours across the board.”
That worries Espanola Cigar Bar and Lounge hostess Joaquina Serantes.
“Of course I am worried,” she said. “I have to pay rent. I have to eat. If I do not work I do not get any money and that is really bad.”
At the Moshi 2 restaurant, Mailys Coudron said: “I am not too worried right now but this better not last forever because then I would be very worried.”
Miami-Dade Police said its officers would be on patrol making sure that businesses complied with the new orders.
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