After two months of forced break, the county of Miami-Dade entered Monday May 18 in a first phase of deconfinement. Hairdressers, clothing stores or restaurants have been able to resume their activity with the exception of the cities of Miami, Miami Beach, Hialeh and Miami Gardens where non-food businesses reopen this Wednesday, May 20 and where restaurateurs will have to wait until to Wednesday May 27 to welcome their customers. A gradual reopening which brings its share of challenges and concerns.
To prepare for the resumption of activities, French hairdressers Manuela Morance and Stéphane Bragoni spared neither efforts nor resources. ” We have invested a lot of money to ensure our safety and that of customers by purchasing masks, hydroalcoholic gel, visors, single-use bathrobes or by installing Plexiglas plates between the shampoo basins. Says the co-manager of the Red Carpet Salon establishment located in Coral Gables. ” Each station is fully disinfected between each client, which necessarily slows down productivity, adds Stéphane Bragoni. We have a lot of requests, which is very positive, but with an occupancy rate limited to 25% we have to adapt and manicure, pedicure and makeup services are no longer offered ” Small pleasures like the provision of magazines and the coffee offered to customers have also disappeared for some time.
In addition to the issue of the availability of hydroalcoholic gel and masks, respecting social distancing is a real headache for some professionals. ” It is impossible to be two meters from clients in order to perform a skin care », specifies Julia Gabsi who manages the beauty and wellness institute SkinByChoice in Aventura. Thus, to reassure its customers, the Frenchwoman indicates that the sanitary measures will be all the more reinforced. ” This is not new since in our sector we already have many rules of hygiene to respect like regularly disinfecting our devices, she insists. I will be even more vigilant and insist on barrier gestures by working in particular with a mask and gloves “
Will customers be there?
Like many other sectors, ready-to-wear professionals also try to limit the risk of contamination. ” Customers will have to disinfect their hands at the entrance of the store to be able to touch the clothes and markings on the ground will prevent them from crossing. As for the tested articles, they will not be put back on the shelf before 48 hours “Says Elie Akiba, the owner of the Lulu Laboratorium concept stores in Wynwood and Design District. Confident about compliance with health measures, the Frenchman says he is rather worried about his cash. ” Reopening does not mean returning to life before. The big unknown is whether customers will be there and whether they will want to consume. ” A feeling shared by the florist Véronique Touboul who manages the French Floral Designs boutique in North Miami Beach. ” As I work mainly with hotels, shops and restaurants, we must first wait until everyone can reopen and especially know if during this period they will not ignore the orders of flowers for other expenses “
For others, the reopening was eagerly awaited. ” It is important to be able to restart the machine and above all to find a little friendliness with our customers “Says Corentin Finot, co-manager of Café Crème in North Miami. Authorized to open his establishment at 50% of its total capacity, like all the restaurateurs in the county, the Frenchman put in place a millimeter organization. ” We have thermometers to take the temperature of our employees and each of them wears gloves and a mask, he explains. Tables, chairs and toilets are disinfected after each use and the menus have given way to QR codes allowing customers to access the card directly on their phone.
A myriad of health measures also considered by Frédéric Joulin, the chef of the Semilla restaurant in Miami Beach who, even if he is authorized to reopen his establishment on Wednesday, May 27, prefers to play the card of caution. ” I envisage a later opening to take the time to observe what is done elsewhere and avoid reproducing the same errors because the situation is unprecedented, he says. I am more worried by the reopening than by my current operation because today with the takeaway we are only two to work and the sanitary conditions are necessarily easier to respect “
For her part, Brigitte Cavallero, who heads the Maison Valentine bakery in Miami Beach, wants to rethink her business model. ” Reopening the establishment by installing five tables instead of ten will not necessarily be profitable and above all it will impose many constraints ”, explains the Frenchwoman who is now betting on take-out. ” We experienced it during the confinement period, it allows to have less staff, less dishes, and especially to apply sanitary measures more easily. “
Finally, for some, the reopening will simply not take place. ” The situation was already difficult before confinement and the health crisis made it worse “Confides Vincent Grégoire, the manager of Musart, a boutique of objects and products derived from different works of art located at the Brickell City Center. ” The decision was obviously not made with gaiety of heart, but the rent and the charges became unmanageable ” The Frenchman now wishes to devote himself solely to online sales. ” It worked well during the confinement period, so I would like to continue on this dynamic, he says. Anyway, we all have to be patient in order to get through this unprecedented period “