Macchialina, a popular Italian restaurant in Miami Beach, closed for a few days this month after an employee tested positive for the virus. Thanks to the early Florida reopening (and an outdoor courtyard), the restaurant was able to weather most of the pandemic.
Macchialina laid off 25 employees during the worst of the pandemic. Business is still bad, but “we can’t complain,” said Michael Pirolo, the head chef and owner. His brother had to permanently close his restaurant in Brooklyn last April due to the long lockdown.
“We get this bad reputation all over the world for not following the rules, for being open,” said Jacqueline Pirolo, his sister and managing partner, of Florida. “But for the most part, our customers who come to us follow all the rules. We could open that up and safely do it, and that’s kind of a middle ground. “
Rolando Aedo, the chief operating officer of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, said about half of restaurant workers and 90 percent of hotel workers were laid off last year, the equivalent of about 150,000 job losses practically overnight. Now the reservation volume for the OpenTable app is around 97 percent of what it was just before the Florida pandemic, he said. Hotel occupancy has dropped by almost 20 percent, which is better than industry observers expected.
Hotels are busy booking rooms in Miami Beach, despite the city’s efforts to dissuade spring breakers from coming.
“Unfortunately we get too many people who want to break up,” said Mayor Dan Gelber. “Letting go is exactly what we don’t want.”
Recently at sunset, couples and small groups strolled down Ocean Drive, darting in and out of restaurants on the sidewalk. Nightclubs like Mangos Tropical Cafe, a staple in South Beach, will remain closed. Parking in the garage is a whopping $ 20, part of a price hike over the spring break.