Miami Beach outlaws panhandling near restaurants, businesses

Asking for money or food near the entrance of a business in Miami Beach is now illegal, under emergency rules put in place by the city because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Commissioner Mark Samuelian defended the new rule, saying on Twitter that panhandling does not “lend itself to social distancing.”

May 17, 2020 | San Francisco Chronicle | Miami Beach outlaws panhandling near restaurants, businesses

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

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.

CAREFUL PHASED REOPENING

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!

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.

FREE RESOURCES

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)
Email: MBCovid@miamibeachfl.gov

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 COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

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

Sincerely,

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

Miami Beach Parks Open, But Leaders Forced To Close South Pointe Over Social Distancing Rule Breakers


City Commissioner Mark Samuelian is proposing a city resolution in hopes of persuading county leaders to allow condos and apartments to open pools.

“It’s a place for people to enjoy the outdoors. Frankly, I think that would help alleviate some of the pressure that we’ve had, for example at South Pointe Park,” the commissioner said.

The city leader supports closing South Pointe for now because of the problems and leaving other parks open.

He also knows new Federal worst-case death toll projections have been revised to 135,000 deaths by August. But he says the city is moving at a pace that’s safe and backed by data.

“The key to social distancing is to not have too many people so we can do proper enforcement and to also protect the safety of our front line employees,” the commissioner said.

May 4, 2020 | CBS Miami | Miami Beach Parks Open, But Leaders Forced To Close South Pointe Over Social Distancing Rule Breakers

Miami Beach Commission Urged To Open Beach To Residents, Get Small Businesses Back To Work

…At the virtual meeting, the commission did not talk much about what a re-opening could look like. They’re expecting to see a plan at the end of the week.

“I think we need to think about reopening but I also think we need to think about the new normal. It’s not an event, it’s a process that’s going to last for months,” said Commissioner Mark Samuelian.

Next Friday, Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales is expected to unveil a framework of what a gradual or phased re-opening could look like.

April 22, 2020 | CBS Miami | Miami Beach Commission Urged To Open Beach To Residents, Get Small Businesses Back To Work

iHeartMedia interview with Mark Samuelian

Interview clip 1 on the plan of gradually reopening Miami Beach.

Interview clip 2 on the plan of gradually reopening Miami Beach.

Beach High twins’ 3D-printed face shields protect Jackson doctors, local officials

His brother Jonathan, the captain and entrepreneur of the robotics team, saw potential. He reached out to Miami Beach Commissioner Mark Samuelian and asked if face shields were something the city could use.

“As a team everyone wanted to make it but [we] didn’t want to make it until we knew who we were giving it to,” Jonathan said. “The same day we were working out how many were needed and when they needed it by. Once we started making the social media posts of the partnership with the city, now everybody’s seen it and everybody’s placing orders.”

Samuelian wore his face shield at a press conference with Gov. Ron DeSantis. He purchased the first round of shields.

“I was thrilled to wear it and I wanted to have it to be able to speak from a firsthand view of what these kids were doing,” Samuelian said. “It’s really wonderful.”

April 15, 2020 | Miami Herald | Beach High twins’ 3D-printed face shields protect Jackson doctors, local officials

Miami Beach partners with private clinic to offer in-home COVID-19 tests for seniors

Home-bound seniors in Miami Beach who show COVID-19 symptoms can now request in-home testing through a private clinic that has partnered with the city to make coronavirus tests available to residents ages 65 and up.

MedRite Urgent Care, which operates the only drive-thru COVID-19 testing center in Miami Beach, is expected to begin senior testing on Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., according to an email City Manager Jimmy Morales sent Wednesday to the mayor’s office.

“I am really pleased that the city has put this program forward,” said Commissioner Mark Samuelian. “Our seniors are a vital part of our community.”

April 9, 2020 | Miami Herald | Miami Beach partners with private clinic to offer in-home COVID-19 tests for seniors

Miami Beach’s spring break ‘canceled’ as Florida sprints to get in front of coronavirus pandemic

“Continuing to allow these large group gatherings on the beach is a public health hazard,” Miami Beach Commissioner Mark Samuelian said in a statement. “These measures are vital.”

March 16, 2020 | CNN | Miami Beach’s spring break ‘canceled’ as Florida sprints to get in front of coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus Florida: Beaches in South Beach in Miami closed, spring break declared ‘over’

Miami Beach Commissioner Mark Samuelian said battling coronavirus is hard enough. But when you add large, energetic crowds and alcohol — not the disinfecting kind — into the mix, strong measures are needed to protect public safety, he said.

“It is certainly unprecedented,” he said. “We’re trying to keep people as healthy as possible, and specifically we are being advised by medical professionals that these type of large crowds are not in people’s well being.”

He said the measures would also protect the health of the spring breakers, who may not fear the disease but who may pass it on to others.

“This is a public safety issue and we have got to address this,” he said. “I support these measures and I believe it is the right thing for the community and frankly for the safety of these spring breakers.”

March 15, 2020 | Tampa Bay Times | Coronavirus Florida: Beaches in South Beach in Miami closed, spring break declared ‘over’

Miami Beach to start shutting down Ocean Drive early to control coronavirus spread

The city of Miami Beach is pushing to reduce large gatherings along Ocean Drive — one of the region’s most popular social spots — amid efforts to hold stop the spread of the new coronavirus.

A Saturday release from the city notes the street had been closed to vehicles since Thursday.

“Effective immediately, the city will be reopening Ocean Drive to northbound and southbound vehicle traffic and will eliminate parking on the east side of the street,” the release reads.

“They will also be closing the beach from 7th to 10th streets ‪starting at 4:30 p.m. To enforce this, Miami Beach Police will begin clearing the beach from 7th to 10th streets ‪at 5 p.m.”

Miami Beach Commissioner Mark Samuelian said he backs the efforts of the city to control the spread.

“The warnings from the health professionals have been clear regarding large crowds and the increased risk of spreading COVID-19,” Samuelian said.

March 14, 2020 | Florida Politics | Miami Beach to start shutting down Ocean Drive early to control coronavirus spread