By Jessica Vallejo

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Some business owners on Miami’s Calle Ocho say they need more space if they’re going to have any chance of surviving the coronavirus pandemic.

“It has been disastrous. It has killed us,” said Fernando Morales, owner of Johnny’s Cannabis.

Others even struggling to feed their families.

“This business feeds my family,” said Jorge, an employee of Taqueria.

Earl Devine, the owner of Sala’o Cuban Restaurant, said they have lost close to 85% of their customers.

“When you don’t have that income it is difficult like any other person,” he said.

Relying only on pickup or deliveries orders has not been enough.

“We need more seating outside,” Devine said.

Currently, restaurants can only use the adjacent sidewalk to provide service.

Devine said there is just not enough space to fit enough tables while social distancing his customers.

The social distancing dining issue has spawned a petition calling on the city of Miami to close the parking lanes of Calle Ocho between 12th and 22nd Avenue for a much needed expansion of outdoor seating.

“I think it would help a lot because we need more space,” said Jorge.

Those behind the petition believe it wouldn’t only benefit their revenue, but it would keep their customers safe.

“So we can help the citizens also not get affected by coming to restaurants,” Devine said.

Since closure of streets has helped businesses throughout South Beach and Coconut Grove, they hope the city of Miami will listen.

“It would help the businesses. They are suffering,” said Byron Marin from Miami Art District Design.

Multiple business owners told CBS4 they want even more space, and would support closing 8th Street.

CBS4 has reached out the city of Miami for a response on this proposal, but the city has not responded.

Jessica Vallejo