- Miami, Florida is one of the coronavirus hot spots in the US.
- Mayor Carlos Gimenez and other local leaders are currently working on developing a plan to reopen tourist spots.
- The city, which predominantly thrives because of its tourist economy, has been shut down for weeks. DeSantis issued a state-wide stay-at-home order on April 1.
- Miami will remain on lockdown until at least May 1, and residents over the age of 2 are required to wear face coverings in public in the meantime.
- I’m a Miami native and I drove around the city one afternoon in April 2020 to see what it looked like during the potentially short-lived lockdown.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Ocean Drive is the main drag in Miami Beach and one of the most well-known South Florida neighborhoods thanks to its Art Deco architecture.
The iconic street is typically lined with traffic, people fighting for parking spots, pedestrians, and tourists dining at restaurants whose seating spills out onto the sidewalks.
When I went there one afternoon earlier this month, I was one of the only people on the street. The typically hard-to-snag parking spots that line the road were even blocked off by traffic cones.
The few pedestrians in the area all wore masks, which is required by the city, and some even wore gloves.
Ocean Drive sits in front of Lummus Park, the gateway to Miami Beach. Both the park and the beach have been shut down since mid-March.
Source: Miami Herald
Fitness influencers usually flock to Muscle Beach, an outdoor gymnasium and tourist attraction in Lummus Park, but it has been roped off by caution tape.
Miami Beach Police and Miami’s parks and recreation services patrol the area by ATVs and golf carts.
The usually bustling sidewalks in between Lummus Park and Ocean Drive that see runners, walkers, baby strollers, rollerbladers, skateboarders, and more on a daily basis were almost completely empty, save a couple of cyclists.
… and, in some instances, caution tape.
Miami Beach expects to see more than 16 million tourists each year, and the spring season typically promises particularly packed beaches.
Source: Miami and Beaches
While the beaches hosted countless spring breakers in early March …
Source: Business Insider
… they are empty and inaccessible now, even though March and April are some of the beach’s busiest months.
Popular spots for spring break nightlife on South Beach, like The Clevelander, have been closed for weeks. Bars and the like have been closed in Miami since March 17.
Source: Miami Herald
The Clevelander packed up all its furniture and gated off its entrances.
Restaurants in the area that typically see locals and tourists alike are also closed and reduced to takeout and delivery. Big Pink, a beloved South Beach diner, usually has a lengthy lunchtime wait due to beach-goers …
… but amid the pandemic, Big Pink has dismantled its patio. It is still offering delivery.
Other Miami favorites, like the Cuban restaurant Versailles, are keeping some semblance of normalcy. Before the pandemic, tourists could expect to wait hours for a table on any given day, while locals would snag takeaway from a bakery attached to the restaurant.
Over the years, Miami’s Cuban heritage has catapulted more than just restaurants to fame. Domino Park, a meeting spot for older Cuban locals and tourists to play dominoes, is usually overflowing with visitors.
Now, Domino Park’s gates are closed, with a sign denoting it is “closed until further notice.”
Miami-Dade’s mayor, Carlos Gimenez, said he is developing a plan with tourism leaders that will be ready to present to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis by Friday. “We have to somehow get this hospitality industry open again. We’ve got to find a way to open the beaches again,” he said on Wednesday.