Florida juggles hurricane, coronavirus pandemic, recession, bitter politics
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Restaurants with intricate outdoor setups to help customers social distance during the coronavirus pandemic are having to store it all. At the Taco Spot, a restaurant steps away from the beach in Hollywood, employees started to prepare as soon as customers went home.
The clock is ticking as Category 1 Hurricane Isaias moves closer to South Florida and is set to impact coastal areas on Saturday afternoon. Despite the need during the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, coronavirus test sites closed.
Port Everglades is closed to inbound ships. Drawbridges are locked down. Public parks and beaches closed. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Broward Mayor Dale Holness asked residents to prepare for flooding and power outages.
“Make sure your hurricane shutters and battery-powered radios are in good working order,” Gimenez said.
Both Miami-Dade and Broward counties have public shelters on standby that will have a lower capacity to help people social distance. Face masks will be required. Hand sanitizer will be available. There is also space set up to isolate COVID-19 patients.
“Look out for each other,” Holness said.
Boaters set up extra lines and fenders. Homeowners in Hallandale Beach, Doral, North Bay Village, Palmetto Bay and other cities were able to pick up free sandbags. Dania Beach and other areas cleaned out storm drains. Miami Beach set up pumps and generators.
While residents prepared, President Donald Trump visited Hillsborough County on Friday. Black Lives Matter protesters and Trump supporters voiced their opinions, as 48 sheriffs from across the state endorsed him.
“As long as I’m president, I will never defund your police,” Trump said.
Funding for unemployed Floridians remained up in the air. Going shopping for dry goods and supplies wasn’t easy for those who were trying to social distance during the coronavirus pandemic.
The lines were longer than usual on Thursday at a Publix Supermarket in Miami Shores. Some Floridians who are unemployed feared they didn’t have enough money to prepare.
“I couldn’t buy everything I usually buy … You know we have three kids and with the law firm suffering,” said Natalia Rodriguez, 37, of Coral Gables. “I mean we have what we need. It’s just this time, I am using water from the sink and passing on the sparkling water. Imagine people who are worst off than us.”For the family of Jimmy Robinson, who worked for nearly three decades for Miami-Dade Transit, preparing for the hurricane comes with grief. He died of complications with COVID-19. If the weather permits it, they will be doing their best to social distance on Sunday during his service at the Antioch Baptist Church in Miami Gardens.