Miami-Dade Mayor Backtracks on Closing Gyms and Outdoor Dining Despite Coronavirus Surge

The county has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Florida

Carlos Giminez?
Carlos Gimenez. Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez will not close gyms and fitness studios, as well as outdoor dining at restaurants, after all during the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

On Tuesday, Gimenez signed a new order that will see entertainment venues, including movie theaters, bowling alleys and the like, to close, effective Thursday. Indoor dining at restaurants will also be prohibited, and short-term rentals will have new restrictions.

Indoor dining will not resume until the county reaches a 5 percent positivity rate in COVID-19 testing, Gimenez said in a tweet Tuesday. The positivity rate is currently at over 22 percent, according to county data.

Businesses will also have an extra day to prepare for closure, as the order was previously set to go into effect on Wednesday, Local10 reported.

On Monday, the mayor had signaled that all restaurants would need to close except for delivery and takeout as would fitness centers.

However, Gimenez then had a virtual meeting Tuesday with members of the County's Wellness Group and medical experts that resulted in gyms being allowed to remain open, albeit with stricter health protocols.

"I had a very productive virtual meeting just now with our medical experts and the County’s Wellness Group," Gimenez tweeted Tuesday. "We arrived at a compromise to keep gyms & fitness studios open. All doing activities inside must wear a mask or do strenuous training outside staying 10 feet apart w/outmask."

Gimenez said that the rollback in business openings is "the only responsible thing to do to save lives and get back on track to open our economy safely," given the high positivity rate.

Miami-Dade is currently the county with the highest number of positive COVID-19 cases in Florida with 51,057 cases of the virus as of Tuesday evening, according to data from the New York Times. Florida is among the hardest-hit states by the virus, with 213,786 cases and nearly 4,000 deaths related to COVID-19.

The state has broken its single-day record for coronavirus cases multiple times in recent weeks, prompting many counties in Florida to reverse course on reopenings and cause bars across the state to close. Several beaches — including those in Miami-Dade County — were shut down for the Fourth of July holiday weekend in an effort to prevent large gatherings.

While beaches in Miami-Dade are now once more open, Gimenez warned would-be beach-goers on Tuesday to "follow emergency orders to keep everyone safe."

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