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Miami-Dade Restaurant Owners Prepare For Indoor Dining Restrictions

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Miami-Dade restaurant owners are preparing to close to indoor dining starting Thursday.

At KYU in Wynwood, barricades outside the front of the restaurant enclose a row of nine metal tables, each with four seats. Café lights and greenery add some aesthetic, while giant fans and a tent keep things as cool as possible.

"The Wynwood BID [business improvement district] was nice enough to allow us to procure a bunch of parking spaces in street parking and donated the safety barriers for us so that we could exercise our outdoor dining option," says KYU owner, Michael Lewis. "We are working hard to keep this place open."

Over at Zak the Baker, Zak Stern, the restaurant's namesake, prepares a similar makeshift outdoor dining spot. He says he's just trying to keep up with all the changing regulations.

"We have pivoted from a café to pick-up and delivery, and now we are trying to pivot to outdoor seating on the other side of our building," he says.

After first announcing an emergency order Monday for restaurants to close altogether, except for delivery or pick-up, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez changed gears and decided to allow outdoor dining for tables of no more than four people.

City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez says he and others were not part of the decision by Gimenez.

"As the mayor of Dade county, when you implement an order, it affects all 34 cities, so I think he has an obligation to communicate with the cities and let them know and, frankly, not just the cities, but also the industries, which I think, unfortunately, he did sort of backward."

Marbet Lewis, an attorney that deals with restaurants specifically, says it is a confusing time.

"Frustration comes in," says Lewis. "It's not that the industry doesn't want to comply. I think business owners, all around, want to comply, but they want clear guidelines on what it is that they need to do. If there are measurements that need to be taken, give the standards on how that needs to be done. Is it the back of seats to the back of seats? If that's not working, then how do we change it?"

This leaves local businesses to make it work as best they can with what they have.

Some restaurant owners are planning a "socially distanced" protest Friday, July 10 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at American Airlines Arena called "Stand With Us: Support Miami-Dade Restaurants."

Gimenez has said the indoor dining closures would last until the positivity rate is back down to 10 percent, which would mean cutting the current rate almost in half.

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