COVID-19: The End of the Beginning – Carefully Reopening

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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Together we are experiencing an extraordinarily sad and challenging time. I am so grateful for everyone’s efforts and sacrifices. We now appear to be ending the beginning phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and thankfully can start to carefully reopen some businesses with continued vigilance.

My number one priority throughout has been public safety. At this point, data and our medical experts indicate that we can begin to open Miami Beach due to many of the initial decisions made as well as our community’s amazing efforts. I have contributed to and called for steady leadership based on sound science during our daily meetings with the City Manager, Mayor, and Commission. I have advocated for our residents, especially our most vulnerable, and ensured that in-home senior testing was implemented. Moreover, I am proud of my contributions to the new “MB Gold Standard” branding which will drive safer business behavior and build customer confidence. Finally, I argued strongly to repurpose certain streets in Miami Beach for much-improved pedestrian and cyclist access. As of tomorrow (Saturday), Ocean Drive will be fully open for pedestrians/ cyclists (no vehicles) and soon cafes; stay tuned as you soon will be able to enjoy some of your other favorite streets!

Below are some highlights I would like to share beginning with the City of Miami Beach’s reopening plans, an extension of gratitude to all who have contributed to softening the blow of COVID-19 in our community, and a list of free resources.


County Mayor Carlos Gimenez has announced that the county will begin a phased reopening next week. With that, the City of Miami Beach recently announced that it will begin its own phased reopening next week. As per the linked article, “the plan, which was proposed by City Manager Jimmy Morales, would reopen 602 retail stores, 18 museums and 141 barbershops, hair and nail salons by next week on Wednesday, May 20th.”

Please see the graphic below for additional specifics.


Thank you to our wonderful residents and the entire community who have helped “stop the spread.”  Your continued efforts are absolutely critical to our ability to fight this virus.

And thank you to all our city personnel, especially our police and fire professionals, and also our healthcare and other frontline workers, who have served admirably to keep us safe.

Also, I would like to thank Commissioner David Richardson, Feeding South Florida, South Florida Seniors in Action, and our community heroes who volunteer to deliver food to our most vulnerable. In addition, I would like to recognize the Miami Beach Bots from Miami Beach Senior High who took it upon themselves to create masks and shields for our community.

Lastly, I want to thank the team behind Meals for Heroes Miami. This program has provided food, free of charge, to our frontline workers while simultaneously helping local restaurants survive.


The City of Miami Beach Convention Center has become a walk-up & drive-thru diagnostic test site for COVID-19, and is in operation from Monday – Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm (excluding 5.15 – 5.17). The testing site has capacity for 750 tests a day and is completely free to anyone 18 years of age or older regardless of symptoms. No appointments are necessary and no limit on frequency of tests.

In addition, the Commission unanimously approved the creation of a limited rental assistance fund to help eligible residents pay their rent.

As we weather these trying times, I am working hard to make sure that our city continues to listen to its residents and provide support for those who genuinely need it. We are all in this together, and if you find yourself needing assistance, please feel free to use one of the resources below:

City of Miami Beach Resource Center from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday – Friday.  305.604.CITY (2489)

The Florida Department of Health has established a Call Center available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1.866.779.6121 or email your questions to

Food distribution sign up

Resources for workers

Let’s all continue to follow safe behaviors including social distancing and masks.  Be safe and healthy, and if you need any assistance please feel free to either contact me or my aide:
Elias Gonzalez, EliasGonzalez@MiamiBeachFl.Gov or call 305.673.7000 ext.6860


Mark Samuelian
Miami Beach City Commissioner

Phased Opening

Picking up shields and masks
Picking up shields and masks from Miami Beach Bots in North Beach
Press Conference at Joes
At Joe’s Stone Crab during one of the early press conferences about COVID-19