By Joan Murray

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Wynwood Walls Museum, which has been closed since mid-March because of the COVID pandemic, reopened on Friday morning but there are some changes to the popular open air gallery.

Due to social distancing, visitors will now have to go online and reserve a time and ticket to visit the property.

While good news for business, Friday’s reopening gave city and county leaders the opportunity to remind everyone that the COVID crisis is far from over.

The celebration was tempered with the knowledge that COVID numbers are going in the wrong direction, and fear that hospitals will not have enough staff.

On hand for the celebration were Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

Ribbon cutting at Wynwood Walls reopening on Dec. 18, 2020 (CBS4)

“It’s not the lack of ventilation or the lack of rooms, it’s a lack of personnel that could create a crisis where we would be at a New York, Italy or Spain level of mortality which is taking it from 2% to 10, 12, 14%,” said Mayor Suarez.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava agreed and reminded the public about the County curfew and the hour extension for Christmas and New Year’s.

“We do have a curfew, it’s been upheld by the courts, and it’s important for our safety and we are rolling it to 1:00 a.m. just for Christmas and New Year’s because of the importance of those celebrations, religiously and the New Year. We all want to celebrate 2021. We are all looking forward to turning the page on 2020,” said Levine Cava.

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The manager of Bakan restaurant says they are one of the lucky ones that remain in business.

“I think it will always help. We will start seeing that flow starting today and we will see how the weekend goes, but I think it will definitely help because it will definitely attract more people to come to Wynwood.,” said German Barchietto, manager of Bakan.

As for Wynwood Walls, it is a magnet for tourists, and promoters are hoping it will bring business back to the distressed area.

“It changes how you feel. I mean, you walk through the gates here and you feel good, you feel happy, you feel hopeful. You feel inspired,” said Jessica Goldman-Srebnick, Walls Curator.

“It’s just fascinating. You know, just being able to come here and see all the beautiful drawings and colors. So it’s I’m excited, you know, beautiful day can’t complain,” said Chicago tourist Jaime Velastegui.

For the rest of December, admission is free. Beginning next year, the usual $10 admission fee will return.