By Ty Russell

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade restaurants may soon allow people inside at a reduced capacity, once again, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

If a county order comes down next week, the owner of “Zak the Baker” in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood doesn’t know if he will move quickly to make changes.

“We will partake but that’s a personnel decision. We need to sit down with our team and understand what does it mean for us to make this pivot,” said owner Zak Stern.

Stern has been allowed to set up tables and chairs outside. We talked to him right before his relatively new falafel pop-up, which operates during the evenings, started. This space is normally used for street parking. A total of 15 restaurants in Wynwood have done this so far. It’s the first area in the city of Miami to expand outdoor seating.

“It’s to allow them to gain revenue during this time that right now, it’s limited,” Wynwood Business Improvement District Director Manny Gonzalez said. “What they’re trying to do is just break even, which is the hard part.”

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said dine in at 50% capacity may start again next week. If it does, you still won’t be able to stay out late.

“Curfew still stays at 10 o’clock. We don’t want people to have parties, etc. Those social gatherings, that’s where the problem is occurring.” Mayor Gimenez said.

As of Monday, the county saw a two-week average positivity rate around 10.6%. It’s getting close to single digits for the first time in months.

Broward County has a two-week average at 7.2%. Broward leaders have always allowed dine-in at a reduced capacity after the shutdown. Last week, restaurants were then allowed to stay open an extra hour, until 11 at night.

“We’ve never worked so hard for so little money in your life,” Stern said.

As for Stern, he said he wants his employees and customers to stay safe. He didn’t allow dine-in when the county mayor initially approved it after the shutdown ended in May. Also, Stern said he likes the expansion outside and hopes it can be something permanent in the “new normal.”

It’s still unclear when we will get an official announcement with a start date. The mayor said he still wants to talk to medical experts. But again, cities can be stricter than a county order.

Ty Russell

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