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How to reopen South Florida? The ideas start coming in

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. – Marinas, golf courses and beaches remain closed. That hasn’t changed yet.

But what’s happening now is a dialogue on how to scale back some of the restrictions to our daily lives during this coronavirus pandemic.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez held a virtual town hall Monday, seeking feedback from residents on “moving to a new normal.”

“We would like for people to get some fresh air and sunshine — but do it in the right way,” Giménez said. “Each opening will require people to follow emergency orders on social distancing and wearing coverings on your mouth and nose for certain activities.”

In other words, don’t expect a scene like was seen in Jacksonville this weekend, when beaches opened and crowds of people could be seen not practicing social distancing.

“There is no plan to reopen the beaches in the near future,” Key Biscayne Mayor Mike Davey said. “That is probably going to be the last thing that’s reopened with regard to open spaces.”

Davey was part of a separate meeting Giménez held with local leaders. They’re talking about the first phase, reopening some of South Florida’s open spaces.

“With regards to parks and golf courses, he believes those will be open sooner than later,” Davey said of Giménez.

In fact, the four subgroups within Giménez’s open spaces task force are parks, waterways, beaches and golf.

Broward County faces similar decisions. Like Giménez, Broward Mayor Dale Holness is a member of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ task force to gradually reopen business across the state.

He said he believes “widespread antibody testing ... will relieve the fear that people have.”

DeSantis says that 100,000 antibody tests will be delivered to the state soon.

South Florida residents have varying opinions on how quickly our communities should open up.

Some feel it’s dangerous to reopen while COVID-19 is still spreading. Others say people should be allowed to enjoy open spaces at their own risk.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has acknowledged that it could take longer to reopen South Florida, which has reported close to 60% of the state’s COVID-19 cases and deaths.

Some leaders feel that a lot more caution and planning are needed before orders are relaxed.

“We need a much more disciplined strategy in this country or we’re going to continue to see these spikes,” Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.) said Monday in an interview on CNN. “And it is totally irresponsible to start talking about opening up before you have the scientific basis to open up, the public health strategy.”

ALSO SEE: Fort Lauderdale mayor looks ahead to phased reopening


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