MIAMI (WSVN) – Dozens of business owners in the cities of Miami, Miami Beach and Hialeah are reopening their doors to customers on Wednesday.
Retailers, barbershops, and nail and hair salons are scheduled to reopen with restrictions.
“We are today, entering into phase one,” said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez during a video conference with other mayors. “What we understand is that we’re interconnected, and so we want to do things at the same time to relieve the pressure from any one individual city.”
In Miami Gardens, barber shops, beauty salons, nail salons are still prohibited from operating, but retail stores are reopening.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said reopening businesses two days after several other municipalities in Miami-Dade County was the right move.
“We don’t want to rush into an opening because, frankly, while people are excited and a little antsy, we want to make sure that we don’t get too crowded too soon and do something we regret,” he said. “Could there be crowds? Absolutely. Are we worried about it? Absolutely, but are we not gonna do anything? No. We’ll do what we need to.”
This first phase of reopening in these cities will include most businesses, but restaurant dining rooms in Miami and Miami Beach are not scheduled to reopen until May 27.
The city decided to shut down parts of Ocean Drive and other streets in the area to allow pedestrians to social distance.
“I think it’s nice just to have it a little chill, relaxing, not too many crowds,” said Miami Beach resident Nicole Nolan.
A handful of stores opened on Lincoln Road but large retail stores like Nike and Apple remain closed.
“It feels very stuttered right now, but I think overall that’s good because we see how Miami Beach can be overrun because of people wanting to get out of their house from the mainland,” said Miami Beach resident Tim Charron.
Masks will be required at places along Lincoln Road and other popular locations in Miami Beach.
“We currently have masks, disposable masks that we’re giving out to everybody who needs one,” said Timothy Schmand, executive director of the Lincoln Road business district. He said larger brand-name stores delaying their reopening will allow for a slower, comfortable opening for shoppers.
“I think you can expect, in all of retail across all of the United States, a slow rollout,” Schmand said.
Fabiana Allegro didn’t think twice about opening her shop Aurora Boutique. She said her customers are eager to do some in-person shopping.
“Not just me but I think all our clients are pretty excited, too,” Allegro said.
Suarez said that as all of these businesses begin to reopen, there will be an effort to enforce social distancing rules.
“If we see widespread abuse and neglect, then we can shut a business down if we have to,” Suarez said.
Other city leaders agreed.
“If we see a return of dangerous and perilous situations, we will have to do something to stop it because we obviously cannot let it continue,” said Gelber.
Businesses in Miami are able to reopen at 50% or less of their total allowed occupancy. Customers waiting for service are to wait outside of the business, everyone must wear a face mask and social distancing guidelines must be practiced.
The city also lifted its nightly curfew and shelter-at-home order late Wednesday night.
Thanh Huynh, co-owner of a Venetian Nail Spa in Miami’s Midtown neighborhood, said he has mixed feelings about opening up to customers on Wednesday.
“The first day you are nervous, a little scared, but we are excited, and I feel comfortable with it anyway,” Huynh said.
7News cameras captured several clients making their way inside the nail spa.
Huynh said they have brought in more hand sanitizers, face masks and gloves to prepare for the phase one reopening.
Dolphin Mall in Sweetwater also reopened on Wednesday with new restrictions.
City of Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez stressed the importance of personal responsibility as stores begin reopening.
“Regardless of all the things the local governments are doing, and hopefully, the businesses will follow all the rules and regulations, it’s really going to be up to us individually,” he said.
Henrique Merlin, owner of Jacques Janine Hair and Beauty, said he was very happy that the beauty salon was able to reopen and that his staff has been preparing to do so safely.
“When you start entering, you take the temperature. After that, you put the sanitizer on the hands,” he said, “and you have a lot of space here for keeping social distancing for six feet.”
Hugo “Juice” Tandron, who owns Headz Up Barbershop, said he wished leaders would have reopened the businesses like Broward County.
“The way they did it in Broward was good,” he said. “Everybody across the board said, ‘All right listen, we’re opening Broward, and everybody is on the same page for the same day.’ I wish they would have done that for Dade County, you know?”
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez received his first haircut in nearly two months at Supercuts in Coconut Grove.
“You never know how much you miss a haircut until you can’t get a haircut,” he said.
Several parks reopened on Wednesday as well.
7News cameras captured a City of Miami Police officer patrolling Moore Park as several parkgoers worked out.
“I feel good. I grew up on this park,” said one visitor.
Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert spoke outside of a store where there were clear instructions to wear masks and social distance.
“This is the first step,” he said. “Until we find a way to vaccinate against this or cure this, we’re gonna have to be a lot more cautious.”
As business owners navigate the new rules, many of them are just grateful to finally start moving towards a new normal.
“Ideally, we have to reopen because in business and life you have to continue,” Mr. Pocketbook owner Philip Nahum said.
To read Miami-Dade County’s “new normal” guidelines, click here.
For more information on reopenings in Broward County, click here.
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