Miami-Dade will be loosening more COVID rules in the coming days, starting with a special curfew exemption for people attending Thursday’s University of Miami football game at Hard Rock Stadium.
Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced the game day exemption during a virtual press conference Wednesday in which
he also outlined a set of restrictions set to be eased Monday. That includes moving the current 10 p.m. curfew to 11 p.m., allowing amusement parks to open, permitting some team sports at county parks and lifting a blanket ban on renting shared scooters and bikes.
“The signs so far have been good,” Gimenez said, pointing to an ongoing decline in COVID hospitalizations and infection rates in daily testing results. “Wear a mask. It’s not a big deal. Then we can get back to as normal a life as possible.”
GImenez’s first change will accommodate a live showcase of Miami-Dade’s less stringent COVID protocols, when Hard Rock opens its stands for the Hurricanes’ home game against the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Aug. 24 he would allow football to resume at Hard Rock under a special set of state rules that preempted local regulations, and that a maximum of 13,000 people would be allowed inside an open-air stadium with seating for 65,000.
The game starts at 8 p.m., and will stretch past the 10 p.m. curfew. Gimenez said he would sign a new order exempting ticket holders from the rules provided they could prove they were on their way home from the stadium after 10 p.m.
Restaurants that have been pressing Gimenez for a later curfew to allow later dinner sales will have to wait at least until Monday for longer operating hours. Coral Gables Mayor Raúl Valdes-Fauli wrote Gimenez Thursday morning urging him to roll back the curfew an hour. “This would be an important change for the many restaurants that call our city home,” Valdes-Fauli said.
Gimenez said he only granted Hard Rock curfew relief this week because White House officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, said the county should take a little more time to see if the COVID statistics continue improving.
Gimenez, a Republican candidate for Florida’s 26th Congressional District, said the federal officials said Monday would be better for starting a looser curfew because it would mark a full 14 days after Gimenez allowed indoor dining to return on Aug. 31. By then, any spikes in COVID hospitalizations from the looser rules should appear in the daily COVID reports.
He said the curfew exemption will apply to people attending late-night sporting events. On Monday, Gimenez said he would end the current closure orders for open-air amusement destinations, including Zoo Miami and Jungle Island.
Miami-Dade Parks will begin allowing night games for baseball and softball, he said, while restrictions will remain for football and soccer. Tour boats also are allowed to return to the waters, at 50% capacity, he said.
The changes in rules come once Gimenez signs emergency orders, and the language of those decrees wasn’t made public Wednesday.
For shared scooters and bikes, Gimenez said he was ending the ban on those rentals that’s been in place since March. But new rules would require each scooter or bike to have sanitizing supplies available.
“They’ll either have to have a docking station [with supplies for multiple vehicles] or have some way that the sanitizing or disinfecting materials can be stored on the vehicle,” said Jennifer Moon, the deputy mayor overseeing the county’s emergency orders.
Gimenez said the order will also require rental companies to rework their apps to include messages to customers asking them to wipe down the scooters before and after each use. “It’s the cost of doing business,” Gimenez said.