Heard On Sundial: Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Transit Workers File Lawsuit and Farms to Studios

May 18, 2020

On this Monday, May 18, episode of Sundial: 

Miami-Dade County Launches Phase One of Reopening

 

Miami-Dade and Broward counties joined the rest of the state in the first phase of reopening. Last week, Miami-Dade released a 176-page document entitled "The New Normal" which includes all the businesses that are allowed to open as well as the stringent guidelines they are required to follow. 

 

Restaurants can reopen at 50 percent of their capacity and must maintain six feet of social distancing between customers. Similar rules are in place at barbershops and retail stores.

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“The risk is never going to be zero, ever,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez on Sundial. “But we have to start opening our economy and reduce the risk. You have to take the measures which lessen the risk significantly and the measures that we’ve taken have done so.”

We spoke with the Mayor about the county’s color coded system for reopening, plans to increase testing capacity and what needs to be done for the county to fully reopen.   

Protecting Transit Workers from Coronavirus 

Thousands of essential workers have been riding public transit to work everyday. These spaces can be incredibly dangerous for disease spread. The county has taken measures to socially distance passengers, regularly wipe down seats and sanitize vehicles at the end of each day. But for workers, those measures haven’t been enough.

 

The Transit Workers Union has filed a lawsuit against the county’s department of public transportation for not providing employees with adequate protective gear. 

 

We spoke with Alice Bravo, Director of Miami-Dade Transit, on the program about these safety concerns. You can also hear an interview with Local TWU President Jeffrey Mitchell about the lawsuit below.    

Farms to Studios is Feeding Artists in Need

The Coronavirus pandemic is hurting all sectors of the economy, including artists. Rosie Gordon-Wallace is the Executive Director of the Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator. She was moderating an artist talk over Zoom several weeks ago when she heard something very troubling. 

 

Last week, the Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator started its Farms to Studios program. Twice a week, a box of fresh produce is provided to an artist in need.
Credit Rosie Gordon-Wallace

“We were talking about what the artists were facing. And the artist presenting felt very safe in this environment, he told us he had lost his apartment. He was now surfing on somebody’s sofa. It just broke my heart.”

 

So Gordon-Wallace spoke with a number of community organizations across South Florida to see what could be done to help. Her organization is partnering with Redland Community Farms in Homestead to deliver fresh produce to artists in need, the program is called Farms to Studios.