Town urges state, county to allow businesses to open
Friday, May 1, 2020
Small businesses in town are suffering under restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic, prompting the Miami Lakes council to urge Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and the county commission to allow them to reopen as soon as possible.
DeSantis this week ordered most businesses in the state to reopen, with safety guidelines, effective on May 4. His order did not apply to Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade Counties, which have the highest number of coronavirus cases in the state.
Miami Lakes, in its action on Thursday night, is asking DeSantis to allow non-essential businesses in town to be an exception in South Florida.
"Businesses are on life support," said Eddie Blanco, a Realtor and chair of the town’s Economic Development Committee.
Blanco is also a member of a Gimenez task force studying ways in which life in the county could return to normal.
Non-essential firms that have remained closed for six weeks can't afford to pay rent and taxes, Blanco said.
Cases of COVID-19 in Miami Lakes reached 43 on April 23 and have not increased for eight days, through April 30, according to state records.
The town council’s resolution says it has “effectively flattened the curve.”
Hialeah, the city next door where residents have strong ties to relatives and friends in Miami Lakes, leads the county with coronavirus patients and had 1,475 cases on April 30.
During the special meeting Thursday night the council -- minus Carlos Alvarez who did not attend -- unanimously approved the resolution.
As for ensuring that the virus would not spread in town with renewed commercial activities, Blanco offered proposals with safety in mind.
"The businesses have different challenges and each have their own set of guidelines [on how they would keep customers safe]," Blanco said.
Spas, nail and hair salons and barbershops are offering to operate by appointment only, allow one or two patrons in at a time while other customers wait outside until it's their turn. Employees would wear masks and gloves.
"These are our businesses and our town, and they should be allowed to reopen with precautions," Blanco said
Councilman Jeffrey Rodriguez agreed.
"We stand with our businesses to help get them up and running again as soon as possible," he said.
Councilman Josh Dieguez said the shutdown affects the town's economy.
"If they can't pay their government taxes and fees, we may see a hit in our budget," he said.
On Wednesday, Gimenez reopened parks, golf courses and marinas but limited activities to continue social distancing.
The town opened its three largest parks and Shula’s Golf Course, too, and is also not allowing crowds, team sports or close contact among visitors.