Broward hopes to reopen boating, parks and golf soon

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – As Broward County plans to reopen in phases, Mayor Dale Holness emphasized Tuesday the importance of being on the same page with neighboring counties.

Broward has been in touch with Miami-Dade and Palm Beach leadership regularly with the intent of coordinating openings at the same time, so as not to promote a rush of people into one county. Holness also spoke with most of the mayors of Broward cities Monday, with the plan for all of them coordinating timing.

No dates or rules for reopening have been finalized yet.

“The end of April and the beginning of May ... is a timeframe for us to start doing some of the relaxation of the rules,” Holness said, as long as testing for COVID-19 shows the county is ready.

The discussion in Broward is essentially following Miami-Dade County’s lead on first assessing the reopening of boat ramps, parks and golf courses.

“Our major economic engines — they’re all suffering,” County Administrator Bertha Henry said during Tuesday morning’s Broward County Commission meeting. The commission discussed business, but focused conversation of the near future on open, public spaces.

Like Miami-Dade’s recommendation, at the reopening of parks, social distancing would be enforced and walking paths would be one-way sidewalks. Pools would stay closed.

Golf course and boat ramp rules would also be modified to accommodate social distancing and prohibit groups of more than 10 from gathering.

Holness emphasized that the key to a safe reopening lies in people knowing if they’re sick, or knowing if they have the antibodies to fight the sickness.

He said the county will make sure infections are actually going down before anything happens, so testing is key.

“We know [our curve] is flat,” he said. “But are we going down is the question, and how far, how fast.”

The Broward mayor is part of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ task force working on plans to reopen the state, along with Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez and Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner.

He said there may be another conversation with the mayors of Broward cities later this week.

In Fort Lauderdale, Mayor Dean Trantalis said Tuesday that how the city will reopen will be based on feedback from affected business owners.

That being said, Trantails also indicated that DeSantis’ would dictate the process.

“We are riding under the Governor’s orders right now, and before we can make any changes in our community, we would have to be released by the Governor,” he said.

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