Ever since the pandemic started restaurants have been a major talking point. They were amongst the first to be completely shut down and relegated to take out, a model many had little experience with. Restaurants that were doing 300 covers on a weekend were getting maybe 50 takeout orders on a good day. Due to the sudden changes coupled with the predatory rates charged by famous delivery services our favorite eateries were at best breaking even. Most one week away from closing.
Our community really stepped up during the hard times. Organizations like F&B Hospitality set up pages gathering funds to help those industry members out of work. Restaurants all over the city also began doing “family meal” to giving delicious food to those in need. Floridian First Realty partnered with multiple local restaurants buying lunches that were then donated to local hospitals and it’s incredibly deserving workers.
The reopening in June felt like a reprieve. The beginning of the end to an awful period. But in the most Miami fashion things got out of hand again. All dinning was shutdown then, 12 hours later outdoor dining was permitted again. Places we knew and loved screamed from the rooftops for more help from the government. Late last week, the prayers were answered.
Miami-Dade County Commission debuted a 35 million dollars relief bill, given to them through CARES Act funding from the federal government for emergency aid. The package will offer grants of up to $25,000 for restaurants affected by the pandemic. South Beach Wine and Food Festival and FIU Chaplin School Industry Relief Fund will give provide to industry members that were furloughed or laid off. The plan is targeted towards smaller restaurants. So no more than 50 employees and 10 million in revenue.
A second part of the plan is expected to be voted on in the near future with more aid if necessary. Will this be enough tp save the restaurants? That’s yet to be determined. With no end in sight we’ve already seen some pillars of our community like Ortanique on the Mile decide it’s time to close their doors. In the meantime, wear your masks, wash your hands and let’s pray our community survives this!