By Ty Russell

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Kevin O’Connor and his wife own Runyon’s restaurant in Coral Springs. He’s pleading for dine-in to go beyond the current limit of 10 o’clock at night.

“We are going to fight until we can’t fight anymore,” he said. “This could mean the difference between life or death.”

He says he’s financially stable now. But if current restrictions at restaurants last longer, he may start to sweat.

“It’s all a matter of how long everything lasts. So, it’s a big question mark,” O’Connor said.

During a conference call Friday with Broward County Mayor Dale Holness, several city mayors called for a dine-in extension by an hour.

“It was a very heated conversation and very passionate on both sides,” Mayor Holness said.

But after one leader on the call expressed concern about hospitals, the current cutoff dine-in time is staying in place.

“If we see a continued decline in the spread, that’s a consideration. At this point in time, I believe it’s too early for us to go beyond that,” Holness said.

In Miami-Dade, eating inside restaurants is not allowed. Also unlike Broward, there is still a countywide curfew. County Mayor Carlos Gimenez says it helps prevent restaurants from acting like nightclubs.

“The curfew is a tool for us to stop the social interactions that was happening and we don’t want that to occur again,” Mayor Gimenez said.

Gimenez says it won’t be lifted until infection rates are at a manageable level. The latest daily positivity rate is around 14% in Miami-Dade. Close to 1,800 people are in the hospital and around a quarter of them are in the ICU.

“We need to keep our masks on. We need to keep our distance, and we need to wash our hands,” Gimenez said.

In Broward, the latest daily positivity rate is under 10%. The fourth time that’s happened this week. But more than 1,030 are in the hospital and under half that are patients in the ICU. The mayor says the county is improving but it’s not safe to ease restrictions yet.

“We are still on the high end,” Holness said.

The O’Connors will keep following county guidelines. Even though they say they can really only have up to a 30% capacity inside their restaurant because of social distancing. So, they will keep urging leaders for an extra hour or two with customers.

“It has put a big hinderance over the ability to get a second turn out of our dining room and that second turn is what determines us making it or breaking it,” O’Connor said.

Crackdowns are continuing in Broward. BSO told the mayor there were about 100 violations this week so far.

The mayor said Broward Schools requested $6.3 million in COVID-19 CARES ACT money to hire a nurse for every school. He’s unsure if the funds can be used to foot that bill just yet.

Ty Russell

Comments