After months of Covid-19 related shutdowns across the country, some cities are beginning to ease restrictions on businesses and citizens. Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis approved Miami-Dade and Broward county to re-open this past week.
Miami Beach began easing restriction on May 20, 2020, marking the start of phase one plans to re-open the economy.
What is Phase One of Miami-Dade’s Reopening Strategy?
Like other cities across the nation, Miami-Dade is reopening businesses in phases. Phase one of reopening in Miami-Dade includes the opening of:
- 602 retail stores
- 18 museums
- 141 barbershops, hair salons, and nail salons.
These newly-opened businesses must comply with social distancing guidelines. These guidelines include:
- Remaining six feet from persons not part of your immediate household, and
- Wearing face masks in public.
The state of Florida recommended that capacities be limited to 25% during phase one. However, Miami-Dade is only limiting occupancy by 50% of customers and 50% of employees to be present at any given time.
While not required, it is recommended that businesses disinfect areas touched by customers between uses.
Wondering what’s not open during phase one?
Generally, places that make it difficult to maintain social distancing, like:
- Massage studios
- Movie theaters
- Tattoo shops
- Bowling alleys
In Broward county, private gyms operated by homeowners associations and apartment complexes are open.
How are Businesses Adapting to Government Recommendations?
While business owners are likely pleased about being able to open up after months of closures and uncertainty, many are having to adapt operations to stay in compliance.
Alain Hachem, co-owner of Hair by Hisham told Local 10 News that, “We social distance between chairs, we wrap people’s shoes when they come in, we sanitize their hands.” To further protect their patrons, they also allow only ten patrons in at a time and walk-ins are not allowed at this time.
Local restaurants are still doing takeout and delivery, as they are still not allowed to have dine-in service. Ivy Amador of Fireman Dereks Bake Shop says that even when dine-in becomes an option, they may still stop people at the door.
Code enforcement officers are out in force ensuring that all businesses and patrons are following guidelines. Early reports are showing that folks are largely compliant.
What’s Next for Miami-Dade County?
According to the “The New Normal: A Guide For Residents And Commercial Establishments” Mayor Carlos Gimenez outlines prohibitions and phased-reopening of the county. In the Guide, he lays out a rainbow flag of businesses and locations which correspond to phases of reopening.
- Red = essential services (businesses outlined in Emergency Order 07-20) and those that can be done remotely like law firms, CPA firms, banks, real estate offices, and those businesses that can fulfill orders online and offer remote pick-up.
- Orange = parks, open spaces, household and electronics shops and repair shops
- Yellow = real estate showings, museums, retail stores and offices with limits on capacity
- Green/Blue = Hotels, pools, gyms, playgrounds, tour operators, grooming salons, bars
Mayor Gimenez has announced the “Yellow Flag Phase” of reopening which, according to the Guide, consists of a limited opening of non-essential businesses provided social distancing and facial covering requirements are adhered to. If there is a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, openings may be rolled-back.
What Guidelines are in Place for Businesses to Protect Employees and Patrons?
As businesses are given the green-light to open back up, county officials are providing detailed guidelines for businesses to do so safely. These guidelines include things like:
Business owners should install hand sanitizer stations, sign-in stations for health questionnaires, and encourage self-reporting of symptoms.
Employers should establish social distancing for patrons, install plexiglass barriers, and enact touchless transactions.
Business owners should install signage to encourage social distancing, and allocate hours of operation for vulnerable groups.
Business Process Adaptations
Companies should create circulation paths, remove seating areas, upgrade HVAC filters, and avoid group activities.
Employer-Led Public Health Interventions
Employers are encouraged to train all personnel on new protocols, post CDC signage, create group shifts to make tracking and tracing easier, and design testing programs for high-risk employees.
Companies should look to WHO, DOH, and CDC for the latest recommendations, establish practices for reporting illness, and post contact information for customers to ask questions to voice concerns.
Government officials have been working to find a balance between risking more human infections and protecting the economy in the long term. Time will tell as to whether these protective guidelines will succeed.
If all goes well, the second phase of reopening in Miami-Dade county begins on May 27, 2020.