MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The cities of Miami, Miami Beach and Hialeah are moving to the next phase of reopening Wednesday, May 27 when they allow restaurants to reopen their doors to customers again for the first time since March 16, when dining rooms were closed and business was limited to takeout and delivery to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Other cities within Miami-Dade County already reopened last week with restrictions following the County’s New Normal Guidelines, but Miami, Miami Beach and Hialeah decided to wait an extra week.

The City of Miami Gardens, which reopens nail, hair salons and barbershops on Wednesday, will wait even longer before reopening dine-in seating at restaurants. A spokeswoman says the plan is for them to reopen based on guidance from the State Department of Health.

Meantime, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is urging everyone in his city and elsewhere to show discipline in their behavior as they follow social distancing guidelines and so that the current “downward trajectory” of coronavirus cases will continue.

CBS4’s Peter D’Oench spoke with Mauro Luise, the owner of Caffe DiMauro at Washington Avenue and 15th Street.

“I am really happy to reopen,” he said. “It’s like I was on vacation for two and half months but really it is time to reopen now.” Luise said he did not apply for any stimulus help from the government.  “It’s just me doing this,” he said. “I did not ask for help.”

He showed CBS4 what he and his 5 employees were doing to protect customers and employees at his Italian restaurant that will reopen at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

“We will sanitize everything and keep the tables 6 feet apart and we will keep this place super clean,” he explained. “Employees are disinfecting everything all over the chairs. Also there will be no contact with hands and we have all of our employees wearing gloves and disinfecting all of the glasses and the silver platters. We need to be careful. We need to reopen but we need to be careful.”

There are numerous safety protocols which restaurants must follow.

“We have been communicating with the restaurants about the rules they need to follow. They are slightly different from the rest of the county,” said Mayor Suarez.  “The key is discipline. If people continue to wear masks and distance socially we should be fine. My main message is that when you are indoors, wear a mask. Obviously when you are eating, you can’t wear a mask. Always sanitize your hands and keep them clean. And listen to what the authorities are saying.”

Here are some of the other safety steps restaurants should be taking.

  • Restaurants must maintain no more than 50 percent of its capacity for indoor dining and including social distancing of 6 feet between parties.
  • Outdoor seating must maintain similar distancing.
  • Bar counters are closed to seating.
  • A maximum of four people can be seated at one table whether seated indoors or outdoors. Up to six members of the same household can be seated together.
  • All restaurants must create visible floor markings for appropriate 6-foot distancing in any waiting areas, whether exterior or interior.
  • Hands-free sanitizer must be available at the entrance.
  • Host staff must maintain social distance from the customer on escorting to table
  • Customers must be wearing masks at all times unless seated. Guests must wear masks or facial covering that covers mouth and nose as they leave their tables.
  • All restaurant employees must wear masks at all times.
  • Glove use is for employees involved in direct food preparation. Gloves must be changed at least every 30 minutes or when changing tasks. Hands must be washed between glove changes. Safe glove removal practices. Bussers and food runners must wear gloves.
  • Hand cleaning between tables is needed each time servers or staff come into physical contact with guests at tables or with food, drinks, dishware, silverware, napkins or other serving equipment. Hands much be washed before, after and between deliveries to different tables.
  • All menus must be disposable and single-use or provided by a QR code that can viewed on a cell phone.
  • Only silverware rolled in a napkin or disposable silverware is permitted. No water or wine glasses are allowed as table presets. No condiments or breadbaskets as presets. Hand sanitizing wipes or another form of handwashing method is recommended at each table.
  • Restrooms only single-person use.
  • Must have plexiglass barriers at cash register and counters.
  • Doors must be disinfected/ wiped-down every 30 minutes.
  • Self-service drink fountains, buffets or salad bars must remain closed.
  • All condiments must be single-use
  • It is encouraged that contactless/ cashless transactions be used.
  • If a payment device is used to complete the transaction, the employee must sanitize the device after each use.  Employee must provide the customer with a wipe so that the customer wipes the device after use.

Peter D'Oench

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