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Heard On Sundial: Florida And New York's Responses To The Pandemic, Bars & Restaurants, MLS Is Back

Charles Trainor Jr.
Tap42 restaurant opens in Doral after being closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, May 18, 2020.

On this Tuesday, June 30, episode of Sundial:

Florida & New York’s Responses To The Pandemic

Florida’s coronavirus cases continue to trend upwards as the state has become a new hotspot for the virus. It has added tens of thousands of cases over the past week, bringing the total to more than 156,000.

This comes as former hotspots like New York have seen a decline in new COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Gov. Ron DeSantis have been at odds with each other since the start of the pandemic and have taken drastically different approaches.

“When you see one state doing dramatically better and the other one starting to worsen there is this pointing fingers at the state that is in the worse misfortune right now and honestly this thing can go on for so long it seems a little short-sighted to be having this war of words back and forth,” said Patricia Mazzei, Miami bureau chief for the New York Times.

We spoke with Mazzei about the political tug-of-war between the two governors and how each state battled the virus.

South Florida’s Strained Service Industry

Last call at bars across Florida came early and unexpectedly on Friday. Just before noon, the state issued an order suspending alcohol consumption at all bars in response to a surge of coronavirus cases. 

Miami-Dade County followed with an order to cut-off all establishments from selling alcohol after midnight. And over the weekend, Fort Lauderdale shut down at least nine restaurants for violating COVID-19 guidelines.

The Miami Herald reports that some restaurants are voluntarily closing their dining rooms. They say that operating at this time isn’t worth the investment or risk.

“When you’re already operating at 50 percent of your capacity, combining people being afraid to go out, combining people not showing up for reservations made through your reservations system and our location, it feels like the stack is just against us,” said Ani Meinhold, the co-owner of the restaurant Phuc Yea in Miami.

We gathered a group of people in the industry to talk about running a restaurant or bar while keeping everyone safe. Joining us were Meinhold, Ryan Dickie, an operations manager at General Horseplay — a bar in Key West — and Geoff Luebkemann, the Senior Vice President of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Major League Soccer Is Back

Fans will finally be able to see Inter Miami play Wednesday night on ESPN — from their living rooms.

It’s been six years since David Beckham announced Miami would have a professional soccer team. There have been legal battles over where a stadium will be built and over the team’s name. And the start of their inaugural season was delayed by this pandemic.

26 teams from across the country are all in Orlando this week for a mini-tournament that will kick-off the start of the MLS season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. 

20 MLS players and six staffers have tested positive for the virus — that’s a 3 percent positivity rate for the league.

“A lot of the traditions of soccer are going to be missing,” said Miami Herald reporter Michelle Kaufman. “They’re not allowed to swap jerseys, there’s no high fives. The celebrations have to be very muted, they’re not allowed to kiss the ball, no spitting.” 

We spoke with Kaufman about what fans can expect this season and how the league is keeping players safe. 

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Leslie Ovalle produces WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.