Mayor will order Miami-Dade casinos to close, halts scooter rentals due to coronavirus

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Wednesday he plans to order all casinos closed across the county.

Gimenez also imposed new restrictions on recreation, banning parties at county parks and freezing rentals of scooters and mopeds throughout Miami-Dade.

“The only way to get ahead of COVID-19 and stop the spread of this virus is taking some very extraordinary actions,” he said in a video address recorded from his Miami home, where Gimenez has been in self-isolation after possible exposure to the virus early last week.

While Gimenez ordered restaurants, bars and gyms to close Tuesday night by 11 p.m., the directive did not cover casinos. Magic City Casino, Casino Miami and the Hialeah Park Casino remained open during the coronavirus pandemic, welcoming customers, while Calder Casino decided to close for two weeks (and said it would pay all full and part-time employees for the time).

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There were no details on when an order would arrive or when it would take effect for Miami-Dade.

In Broward, ordered restaurants, bars and gyms announced would close, followed by The Casino at Gulfstream ParkAll three closed as of 10 p.m. Tuesday. Hard Rock’s casino remains open.

Gimenez said this morning he imposed a cap on county park gatherings of more than 10 people. He said this was to discourage “parties” on county land at a time when schools are out and many residents are being asked not to report to work.

Gimenez said the order does not apply to municipal parks.

The ban on scooter rentals also includes bikes, shutting down municipal bike-sharing programs like CitiBike. It takes effect at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. “You can still ride a bike or a moped if you own it,” Gimenez said. “But we are prohibiting the rental of these types of vehicles to make sure the virus is not passed from one user to another.”

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In a note to residents Wednesday afternoon, Coral Gabels announced the county directive and said: “This order is placed into effect because these mobility devices, which are available at public docking stations, are not routinely cleaned between users, and may become vectors for the spread of COVID-19.”

Javier Correoso, a spokesman for Uber, said the company was “blindsided” by Gimenez’s scooter order, which he said is stricter than what other cities are doing.

Uber is one of the top scooter renters in Miami. “Other municipalities are trying to encourage people to use scooters and bike rentals as an alternative to public transit,” he said. Correoso said Uber has an entire team dedicated to cleaning scooters several times a day.

“There are a lot of people who live in these buildings who don’t have a car. They’re avoiding getting on the trolley. They’re avoiding getting on the Metromover,” he said. “They’re relying on those scooters to get work..”

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