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Restaurants, gyms closing again in Miami-Dade under new order targeting COVID surge

Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced he will make the emergency order.

Miami-Dade County restaurants must close dining rooms and gyms must shut down again this week under a planned emergency order by Mayor Carlos Gimenez as he continues to retreat from a May reopening plan that has proven unable to prevent a surge in new coronavirus cases.

“We want to ensure that our hospitals continue to have the staffing necessary to save lives,” Gimenez said in a statement.

The restaurant closure order will allow takeout and delivery to continue, Gimenez said. Last week, Gimenez ordered the closures of casinos, movie theaters and strip clubs while mandating masks in most public spaces.

Related: Florida’s coronavirus spike: 5 things to know

“It is a hard blow. Now we are not going to have a livelihood,” said Lilly Gándara, who owns Spanish restaurant La Dorada in Coral Gables, with her husband Domingo. “The restaurant is our whole life, it has been for 26 years, and we will continue fighting for it.”

Gimenez announced the planned order to take effect Wednesday, and said it also forces closures of gyms and fitness centers, ballrooms and short-term vacation rentals. He said beaches would be allowed to reopen Tuesday after a temporary closure over the long Fourth of July weekend.

“At this time, I plan to keep open various outdoor activities, including condominium and hotel pools with strict social distancing and masks rules, as well as summer camps and child daycare centers with strict capacity limits, requiring masks and social distancing of at least 6 feet,” Gimenez said in a statement.

Gimenez blamed residents for not following longstanding COVID rules on wearing masks indoors and keeping at least 6 feet apart from people whenever possible. He also continued to point to May racial-justice protests as a cause of the ongoing surge in COVID infections.

The announcement means closures for thousands of restaurant dining rooms that had been allowed to reopen May 18 after two months of closures at the start of the COVID-19 emergency. While case growth declined through May, hospital beds began filling up again in June, and now the county’s supply of intensive-care slots is approaching capacity.

Gimenez said Miami-Dade would remain under the 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew he imposed last week ahead of the holiday weekend.

In his statement, Gimenez specified office buildings, stores, and barber shops and hair salons would remain open under the new order, which was not released. He emphasized that more closures could come quickly.

“Beaches will be open on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, but, if we see crowding and people not following the public health rules, I will be forced to close the beaches again,” he said.

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