After laying dormant for months, beleaguered eaters in Miami and Miami Beach may have some good news coming on the horizon: restaurants will soon spring back to life. That was the word from Mayor Carlos Gimenez on Wednesday when he announced restaurants reopening in Miami-Dade County on May 18. Talks about when and how the area would reopen have been a major topic since South Florida has been deemed the epicenter of the state's COVID-19 pandemic.

Miami, Miami Beach, and Hialeah, the county's three largest cities, will reopen their restaurants on Monday if Governor Ron DeSantis supports the plan. The move is an effort to bring a semblance of normalcy to the area.

Mayor Gimenez released a lengthy how-to guide for reopening the area, called The New Normal.

If approved, the plan will dictate that restaurants cannot exceed 50% capacity, though municipalities could put in stricter capacity limits than what the county has set forth, Gimenez said a video conference on Wednesday.

He cautioned that this could pose a problem as it would create a disjointed patchwork of standards in the area.

Still, restaurants reopening within Miami-Dade will be seen as a sign that things are somewhat returning to normal. However, there will be significant changes.

For instance, restaurant staff is required to wear masks and gloves, and patrons will have to do the same if they're not eating. Also, tables will have to be six feet apart with hand sanitizers at each one.

Also, outdoor dining will be greatly encouraged, and streets may be closed off to allow for it, such as Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, which shouldn't be a problem as South Floridians have long enjoyed dining al fresco.

The future of dining out will look a lot different than it did before. Some restaurants might struggle to make the change, though it has the potential to elevate the South Florida dining lifestyle. 

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