In recognition of the impacts of COVID-19 on the local economy, the Coral Gables City Commission recently tasked staff with finding additional creative ways to support businesses and encourage individuals to participate in the local economy. On Tuesday, July 14, 2020, the City Commission adopted an emergency ordinance adding a section to the City’s Zoning Code to provide expanded opportunities for outdoor/open-air dining.The City also incorporated certain flexibilities for civic uses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 12, 2020, Mayor Raúl Valdés-Fauli declared a state of emergency for the City of Coral Gables and, on March 25, 2020, issued a “Safer at Home” Emergency Order. Following in line with Miami-Dade County, on May 16, 2020, Mayor Valdés-Fauli issued an Emergency Order allowing for the limited reopening of restaurants and certain establishments with conditions that amended the City’s Safer At Home Order. On May 29, 2020, Mayor Valdés-Fauli issued Amendment No. 1, to allow for the reopening of restaurants and certain retail and other establishments with conditions. Since then, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez has issued a second amendment to Emergency Order 26-20, limiting restaurants to outdoor service only for on-site consumption.

The limited reopening order and latest County mandate authorize the City Manager to provide expanded opportunities for outdoor/open-air dining in the right of way, private property, and city-owned properties by relaxing certain requirements in the City Zoning Code related to signage and relaxing standards applicable to Temporary Uses.

Temporary Use Permits can provide local businesses with the opportunity to expand operations outdoors onto a surface parking lot or a vacant lot. The permits can also provide civic uses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 emergency, such as educational facilities and governmental uses, with the ability to operate temporary uses and structures on private property, public property, or on a combination of private and public properties. This ordinance provides local businesses with the flexibility needed to adapt and respond to all guidelines associated with changes to the County’s reopening plan.

A copy of the draft emergency ordinance can be accessed here. Bilzin Sumberg remains available to assist our clients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are interested in applying for a COVID-19 Recovery Temporary Use Permit, please contact us.

This information is intended to inform our clients and other friends about legal developments, including recent decisions of various municipalities, legislative, and administrative bodies. Because of the rapidly changing landscape related to COVID-19, we intend to send out regular updates. The information we provide is not intended as legal advice and viewers/readers should not rely on information contained in these materials to make business or legal decisions. Before making any legal decisions, consult your lawyer. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you need assistance responding to the many issues which have arisen, and will continue to arise, out of this situation.