MIAMI – With coronavirus cases on the rise, there is no flirting at the bar, nor is there a disco dance with a new boyfriend. The new normal of the pandemic is redefining Friday night fun for young people in South Florida.
Code enforcement officials in Miami Beach, Miami and Fort Lauderdale, the cities where most of the socialization took place before the pandemic, issue warnings.
In Fort Lauderdale, Pizza Italia received more than a warning. Officers ordered them to close and issued a $ 15,000 fine. Tommy Bahama’s Marlin Bar was also closed.
Governor Ron DeSantis said the community broadcast is being driven “by that group of 18 to 35-year-olds” and ordered the closure of state bars on Friday.
On Calle Ocho, a mask was not a challenge for a Conga man and his keyboard. There was a couple on a romantic date that did not include much distance. And there were plenty of others who either weren’t aware of the new face mask mandate or just didn’t care.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez warned that civil fines start at $ 50 and violators could face prison. Jackson Health Systems President and CEO Carlos Migoya said there is an increase in cases driven by people age 40 and under.
Little Havana, Brownsville, and Allapattah are hot spots in Miami-Dade County. Officers have closed six businesses and issued about 4,000 citations, according to the Miami-Dade Police Department.
In Fort Lauderdale, code enforcement officers worked Friday night.
“We will also seek to ensure that no one exceeds the maximum 50% occupancy in the building,” said Porshia Williams, the city’s code compliance manager.
Mayor Dean Trantalis also walked through Las Olas and visited several businesses that code enforcement officers had already cited or verified for complaints.
Although there seemed to be a large crowd at the Yolo restaurant, officials determined that the business was meeting capacity limits.
“There are a lot of people here,” said Bob Cerron, a Fort Lauderdale resident. “I mean this is a great place.”
Tim Patrillo of the Yolo restaurant said it is always a challenge to make sure everyone wears a face mask and social distancing because there are so many people coming and going.
“I feel like the guests are also beginning to be much more responsible,” Patrillo said.
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