Miami-Dade County relaxes some COVID-19 rules as state enters Phase 3 response

Government Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Miami-Dade County relaxed some restrictions it put in place to protect residents from the coronavirus as the state says infection positivity rates have remained below 5.51% in the two weeks ending Sept. 26.

     All businesses can be open, and restaurants may go to 100 percent capacity, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced Sept. 26.

     “I want to stress that we are at a critical juncture to continue to save lives and get our economy moving forward,” Gimenez said in a statement released Sept. 26.

     “Even as all businesses are being opened, everyone must continue to take personal responsibility and wear facial coverings in public places, stay at least 6 feet away from others and wash their hands often to stop the spread of the virus, particularly to protect those with high-risk medical conditions and our senior citizens.”

     Restaurants are permitted to have at least 50% occupancy.

     Dining spots may operate at full, or 100% capacity, if they ensure:

--There is six feet between tables;

--No more than 6 persons (or 10 people from the same household) sit at a table and

--Patrons wear masks unless they are actively eating or drinking.

     For restaurants and bars that do not have enough space to separate tables and reach 50% minimum capacity, they will be allowed to set tables closer together to reach the 50% minimum, according to the county.

     Bars licensed to sell food will be allowed to reach 50% capacity if seating is separated at a bar as far as possible between the people being served.

     Clubs that have dancing must require guests to wear masks while on the dance floor, the county said.

     Eating and drinking will only be allowed at tables.

    The county’s curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. remains in effect to help curtail late-night activities that could facilitate spread of the virus, the county said.

     Those who are out during curfew will be cited with a criminal misdemeanor offense that carries a maximum $500 fine and/or 180 days in jail.

     The curfew may be difficult to enforce during celebrations for South Florida’s winning sports teams.   

      People were out in the streets, banging pots and pans after 11 p.m. when the Miami Heat made it to the NBA Finals on Sept. 27.

     Though Gov. Ron DeSantis on Sept. 25 suspended fines and penalties against those who violate the county’s public health orders related to the pandemic and those guidelines elsewhere in the state, the county said it will continue to issue civil citations for those who don’t wear masks.

     “We want to continue to celebrate the gains we have made on the public health front, keep our hospitals operating efficiently to be able to care for all patients and not have to revert back to emergency closures because of a spike that overwhelms our health care system,” Gimenez said.

         To read the county’s “The New Normal: A Guide for Residents and Commercial Establishments,” visit

     It has guidelines for disease prevention and the safe operation of schools, sports and factories.

--Linda Trischitta

Theme picker