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These are the latest rules of dining out in Miami

What’s open? What’s allowed? We break down the confusing rules of dining at a Miami restaurant.

Virginia Gil
Written by
Virginia Gil

It’s been whirlwind 24 hours for Miami’s restaurant community. First, Mayor Giménez announced he was closing them down for dine-in service. Then, somewhere around 10pm, the Miami-Dade mayor released an emergency order that once again allows dine-in service but only outdoors. But there are other stipulations if restaurants wish to stay open, like limiting seating and turning down their music. Not sure what’s allowed and what isn’t? Here’s what you need to know.

Parties larger than four will not be allowed to dine out together.

The rules used to be four people at a table and six if you lived in the same household. Eventually, restaurants eased restrictions on the number of people allowed to sit together. But now, only parties of four can dine out together with appropriate distance and should all be living together.

Restaurants are allowed to play music but they have to keep the volume in check. 

What happens when you try to speak to someone across the table in a loud venue? You raise your voice and the exertion spreads all kinds of saliva and particles into the air that lead to contagion. "Music [should be] played at a level that does not require shouting, to prevent the emission of potentially dangerous airborne droplets," said Mayor Giménez.

There’s a countywide curfew from 10pm to 6am.

Mayor Giménez was on NPR’s Morning Edition earlier in the day, where he explained the reason for the 10pm curfew. In part, forcing restaurants to close early keeps them from turning into crowded, late-night hangs where people are likely to violate the rules of social-distancing, which was the pattern observed across the county, said the mayor. 

Restaurants that don’t offer outdoor dining are still allowed to provide takeout and delivery.

If your favorite restaurant doesn’t have an expansive patio or courtyard, you can still order food from them to-go. As always, third-party delivery apps charge a premium and these restaurants are stretched thin as is so, whenever possible, opt to pick up your meal yourself.

You still have to wear a mask while seated at the table.

Per the emergency order, people going to restaurants have to keep their masks on while seated at their table and are only allowed to remove it to eat and drink. According to the order: "If you are waiting for your meal at a restaurant table, keep your mask on while having a conversation with those around you."

Things will change. Call the restaurant before making a reservation and heading out.

The rules for dining out changed in less than 12 hours yesterday. We don’t anticipate this backtracking pattern to change while the county’s positive cases continue to rise. Stay vigilant and always call the restaurant or venue before you go.

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