On August 31, Miami-Dade County is going to try this indoor dining thing again. For the first time since early July, restaurants will no longer be limited to outdoor seating only. How will things be different than last time? How many people can sit at a table? Do you still need your mask? Let’s talk about it below, and we’ll do our best to answer your questions.
This sounds familiar. Didn’t we do this before?
Yes, we did. After Miami’s initial shut down, restaurants were allowed to reopen for indoor dining on May 27, as long as they followed some rules.
So, what went wrong?
Well, Miami’s Covid positivity average shot way up. We don’t know for sure whether or not this was a direct result of restaurants being open. However, there were certainly some places that were obviously not complying with Covid restrictions. Even the Mayor of Miami Francis Suarez took a break from doing sit-ups to visit a non-socially distanced Swan, unmasked and standing way too close to people. Miami’s positivity rate is now down to 10%, which is better than we were a few months ago, but still not great.
What are the new rules for indoor dining?
The dining rules that go into effect on August 31 will be similar to the rules we saw back in May, with some tweaks. Restaurants will still have to limit capacity to 50% inside, though the maximum party size allowed has gone from four people to six. Restaurants will also have to keep their doors and windows open while constantly running the air conditioning. This is supposed to help with air circulation.
Are masks still a thing?
Very much so. Actually, these new rules state that you must keep your mask on even while seated at your table. You can only take it off once food and drinks are served, so keep it on while you debate which appetizer to order.
Are the cities within Miami-Dade County just going to go rogue and do their own thing like last time?
It seems like all the major cities are on board and there will be more consistency this time. Hialeah and the City of Miami are very OK with this. Miami Beach mayor Dan Gelber also said his city is likely to follow the county’s reopening rules.
Are we still under a curfew?
We are, actually. Miami-Dade County is still under a 10pm curfew, which means restaurants have to wrap things up by then. Carlos Gimenez said the curfew will remain in place until at least Labor Day weekend.
Is outdoor dining still going to be a big thing?
In all likelihood, yes. Many people still feel safer eating outside, even if it is three jillion degrees, so we can’t imagine places will just start tearing down their sidewalk tables. Plus, if the positivity rate starts to climb again, we could be back to outdoor dining only very soon.
Are bars open too?
No, bars are still closed. In fact, you aren’t even allowed to eat or drink at the restaurant bar under these new dining rules. Some bars that also have kitchens and serve food might open, but they’ll feel more like restaurants than bars.
You didn’t answer my question.
Sorry about that. If you have a question for us, you can always reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. But the best and easiest way to get clear, fast answers about a restaurant is to just call that restaurant directly. They’ll be happy to chat. Just be patient, understanding, and kind. These are weird times, and we’re all trying to adjust safely.