By Peter D'Oench

HIALEAH (CBSMiami) – In Miami-Dade, due to the coronavirus, only essential businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, convenience stores, and pharmacies are allowed remain open.

But there’s been some confusion about what businesses are considered essential.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s order requires businesses like beauty salons, jewelry stores, boutiques, casinos, tennis and golf clubs to shut down.

Mayor Gimenez told CBS4 on Monday that Home Depot and Lowe’s and auto mechanics are considered to be running essential businesses and can remain open.

As far as the shutdown, he said, “The orders are important to try to get as many people to be home as possible to try to get as much social distancing as possible,” he said. “This is really the same as sheltering in place. We just haven’t called it that.”

The mayor expressed a new concern about too many people congregating where there is take-out food.

“As we see more and more people congregating there, we may have to take action. I reminded you that you can take a bike ride. You can go out in public. Just don’t congregate,” he said.

“Government has to do certain things but in the end it is up to us to stop the spread of this virus,” he added. “We have about 250 cases here in Miami-Dade out of a population of 2.8 million people and fortunately no deaths and about 30 people hospitalized. We need to keep the number down to slow the propagation. The one thing I continue to stress is for people to keep their distance and social distance. Wash your hands for 20 seconds. Don’t touch your hands to your face or eyes. You have to remember this.”

Andrew Gottlieb had heard the news that only essential businesses like doctor’s offices were allowed to be open under the Miami-Dade mayor’s order last week. He was also grateful to find out that some businesses, like Beacon Auto Care in Doral are still open.

“Someone needs analysis of their vehicle or has a flat tire, they have the same needs in the same way you might have for a drug store when you need medication,” said David Perez, the owner of Beacon Auto Care.

Perez told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that staying busy could be his biggest challenge in 16 years.

“It’s hard. It’s hard for businesses,” he said. “We are going to get by but it is not going to be easy.”

Gottlieb said he was thankful that the Home Depot in west Miami-Dade still had their doors open.

“I have two propane tanks I am looking for,” said Gottlieb in Home Depot’s parking lot. “I am not going in, I am going to watch and make sure it’s not too crowded but I wanted to get out and about to a store to liven up my existence at home.”

Others, who were eager to find what they could at a Walmart store in west Miami-Dade, expressed mixed emotions.

“I am buying Lysol, other essential producers,” said Amy Gomez.

When asked what she thought about the situation, she replied: “it’s terrible, it’s horrible.”

“We Americans are resilient and we will get through this together,” said fellow shopper A. J. Jimenez.

Gimenez ordered the non-essential business to close last Thursday.

“Shops, beauty salons, spas, nail studios, sporting goods stores, book stores, jewelry stores, malls, boutiques, toy stores, indoor amusement parks, social clubs, tennis clubs, golf courses,” Gimenez rattled off in a video detailing his emergency order.

“It’s during difficult times that a community shines. I realize these orders can be overwhelming for people but they are necessary,” he added.

The non-essential businesses were ordered closed based on stricter guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control.

The closures will remain as long as there’s a state of emergency in Miami-Dade or until the mayor issues a new order.

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Peter D'Oench

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