Memorial Day is yet another holiday where traditional large gatherings will not take place due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, new places are included in the latest phased re-opening.

Restaurants, retail shops, and grooming services may operate under guidelines from the County; guidelines the cities are essentially following with few additional limitations. Not all businesses in these categories are choosing to open, so we’re bringing a partial list as examples. As a reminder, facial coverings and social distancing are required, all grooming is by appointment only, and groups can be no larger than ten people in open spaces.

Biscayne National Park sent a news release announcing access to Convoy Point canoe/kayak ramp from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. That includes the Convoy Point restrooms. The boardwalk, Dante Fascell Visitor Center, Elliott Key, Adams Key, and Boca Chita remain closed until further notice. Ron Marietta and Cory Roth from Palmetto Bay came down to “wind foil” from the kayak ramp. “It felt good to be back out on the water for the first time,” Marietta said. Roth agreed. “It’s great to have the ramp back open and to have access through Convoy Point to the beautiful park.”

Next door at Bayfront Park, Alvaro Lince, Marina Attendant, explained the marina and the green spaces are still open, but not the beach. The entrance fee of $5 weekdays and $7 on weekends is in effect.

The boat ramp is 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and the park itself sunrise to sunset. And more than the view from La Playa Grill is available. Rigoberto Fernandez said they are operating with the rules of 50% occupancy,

distance between tables, and all required health measures in compliance with county/city guidelines.

Like-wise, Blackpoint Marina is operating under the same restrictions as have been in place since the County re-opened green spaces at the end of April, but the restaurant does have dine-in as well as take-out.

The Fruit and Spice Park has plenty of room for meandering, although the Mango Café will be closed until further notice.

In coming back around through town, other restaurants where dine-in is available as well as carry-out are Capri, Casita Tejas, Farmer’s Market, Mario’s, and Texas Roadhouse. Four Eight Restaurant is targeting May 26, 2020 as their date. Exit One Taproom falls “in between” some of the county’s categories. “We are really proud to be back to serve Florida City and our community with take-out service for beer and our new partner Farm House barbeque food as well,” Breezy Leza said. “We have asked to be allowed to use our outside spaces for dining and expect an answer soon.”

Moving up the road a bit, Redland Market Village on their twenty-seven acres is open and Francesa Varela of historic Cauley Square said all their shops, the historic Tea Room and the innovative F.I.G.A.T restaurant would be open by Thursday, May 21, 2020. If shopping is what you’ve missed, Southland Mall and the Florida City Outlet Mall are open Monday to Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Sunday, 12:00-6:00 p.m. Since not all stores and services will be open, if you have a favorite store, calling first is best.

Looping around to our south, Alabama Jack’s is the closest non-residents can get to the Keys until the barricades come down June 1, 2020. [Announced date, subject to change.]

Keys residents can enjoy green spaces and beaches such as Harry Harris County Park in Tavernier. John Pennecamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo is open but with limited visitation. The beach, boat ramp and trails are available, with social distancing being enforced. Restroom availabilty may be limted. All other park facilities are still closed.

Most of the Upper Keys diving and fishing charters are operating with reduced capacity to allow for social distancing.

In addition to the restaurants highlighted last week, Gilbert’s is open for business.

And Jacobs Aquatic Center in Key Largo is open to splash around and get wet during the hot holiday weekend, 10 am to 6 pm.

While we are fortunate to have large open spaces and parks to enjoy, amusement businesses such as theaters, bowling alleys, Top Golf and AMR Homestead-Miami Motorplex will remain closed until further notice. AMR Operations Manager Darrin Tebbe noted they are currently open only to cart owners.

The important thing to remember is businesses must operate within mandated restrictions. They are doing what they can to make it as customer-friendly as possible and patience continues to be very much in need during this “time of the new normal”.

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