Reopening a healthy Miami Beach is my top priority, and the plan must be informed by public health and medical expertise. For Miami Beach’s reopening efforts to succeed, they must also be tailored to our vulnerable population of seniors and those with underlying health conditions while addressing the unique issues presented by the tourism-based economy. Coordination is also important since Miami Beach can advocate and inform discussions with the County and State, but ultimately cannot be less stringent. While this is a full executive and director team effort, Amy Knowles, our Chief Resilience Officer, is supporting me with coordinating layers of planning and research given the interdisciplinary needs. Draft reopening recommendations will be presented and discussed at the Finance and Economic Resilience Committee meeting. To preface the discussion, I have outlined draft Resilient Recovery Plan goals:
Resilient Recovery Goals
•To carefully reopen the community and succeed in controlling virus spread following public health guidance.
•To tailor reopening to Miami Beach’s vulnerable population and tourism-based economy.
•To sustain and recover local businesses and employment and mitigate economic hardships to the most impacted.
•To maximize recovery through long-term economic diversification planning for the tourism economy.
•To increase Miami Beach’s resilience by reducing the severity and impacts of future pandemics and catastrophic events.
•To maximize lessons learned, including continuing to realize co-benefits for climate change and sustainability goals.
Reopening Planning Approach
I recommend that Miami Beach follow all public health guidance and commence reopening once the City and the County enter Phase 1 of the Opening Up America Again plan (Attachment 1). Obtaining an actual date for this is difficult given the lack of predictable information about this novel virus. Currently, the IHME model estimates June 8th may be the earliest date that Florida can relax social distancing with containment strategies that include testing, contact tracing, isolation, and limiting gathering size. The Office of Emergency Management provides a daily SitRep to the City Commission that includes all available data and activities, including 14-day trends for new cases and hospitalizations.
To tailor the Opening Up America Again and CDC guidance to Miami Beach, staff is leveraging all industry professional association guidelines and best practice research. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health also recommends a phased approach to reopening. This includes providing guidance to cities, 14-day decline in new cases, increased testing, sufficient healthcare, contact tracing, and resources for isolation. Staff is also monitoring the Governor’s Re-Open Florida Task Force convened this week and key takeaways are provided (Attachment 2). Staff is also participating in the Global Resilient Cities Network and Miami-Dade County reopening plans, including Town Halls and the Economic Restoration effort lead by the Beacon Council. Very early on in the response, I convened a Miami Beach Business Group and Hotels Group that has provided vital feedback to inform the draft reopening plan. Key contributions include planning with respect to timing, labor, supply chain, communication and reputation management. The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau recently released a Tourism Recovery Plan (Attachment 3).
My team has examined how to reopen every part of the community that has been closed or reduced by emergency order and has proposed Phase 1 reopening requirements. This generally includes lower capacity, elevated cleaning and disinfection, and protective masks. Best practices and innovative ideas are also provided within the draft plan, recognizing that thinking outside of the box is important in this ‘new normal’.
The framework includes draft reopening guidance for:
•Reopening our Support Structure: including essential systems the economy and society depends on, such as schools, childcare, transportation, and government services
•Reopening the Economy: including hotels, restaurants, retail, entertainment and the beaches
•Reopening the Community: including parks, community centers, and places of worship
Since parks, marinas and golf course are among the first places that Miami-Dade County is planning to reopen, our Parks and Recreation Department has prepared a detailed reopening operational plan (Attachment 4). In the event that the public health criteria allows for summer camp to reopen June 8th, 2020, the Parks team is preparing a preliminary plan as well.
I am pleased to provide updates and have timely discussion on reopening and recovery through weekly City Commission meetings. Additionally, I will create two new teams to inform the reopening efforts.
•Health Advisory Team to advise specific reopening considerations for Miami Beach places and to expand testing, and
•Education and Enforcement Team to help achieve compliance with reopening safety needs. Enforcing the required behavior changes will be difficult and costly. We have confirmed with DEM, costs incurred enforcing social distancing during this declared State of Disaster would be eligible for FEMA reimbursement. There has been considerable progress with the safety procedures for essential businesses.
City Government Workforce, Workplace Safety, and Operations
I am immensely proud of our leadership, the bravery and agility of our city workforce, and how our residents have heeded warnings to stay home. The entire workforce has mobilized to provide help to our most vulnerable, services to the community, and we’ve turned into virtual city hall virtually overnight to make sure employees do everything possible to keep the economy moving while continuing to provide direct services. Reopening plans for employees and the workplace are also being carefully thought through. Each department is developing planning to protect employees and to support the community recovery. The Opening Up America Again guidance and best practices will also be followed for Phase 1, including continuing telework, staggering work shifts, modifying spaces for social distancing, and protective gear.