FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – It won’t be business as usual by any means, but Miami-Dade and Broward counties have announced that they will open parks, waterways and golf courses on Wednesday.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez and Broward Mayor Dale Holness made the announcements simultaneously Monday afternoon. Palm Beach County is also opening on the same timetable.
“These openings will assist in helping our residents with their physical well-being as well as their mental well-being,” Holness said.
The counties had previously discussed those open spaces being Phase 1 of a gradual return to a new normal during the coronavirus pandemic, but this is the first time a date has been announced.
These signs 👇 are going up at @MiamiDadeCounty parks, marinas, and golf courses today as they prepare for tomorrow’s opening of some open spaces. Reminder: #beaches remain closed + @CityofMiami parks + marinas will remain closed. @WPLGLocal10 https://t.co/CtWRZ1VnZq pic.twitter.com/APwcFtzEYb— Christina Vazquez (@CBoomerVazquez) April 28, 2020
Beaches and non-essential businesses will remain closed.
The mayors also stressed that social distancing measures will still be in place and there will be specific rules for each activity.
“The parks, waterways and golf courses will be used in limited ways that require everyone to take personal responsibility and act as if they have the coronavirus,” Giménez said.
Miami-Dade has hired 400 former private event workers to help with enforcement.
The City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said earlier Monday that his city does not plan to reopen marinas and parks this week and will follow a different timetable than the county.
.@FrancisSuarez said @CityofMiami does not plan to reopen marinas and parks this week and will follow a different timetable than the county. “We want the data to drive our decisions...to make sure that what we do does not create a scenario under which we reverse course.” https://t.co/1eujzCfUlK pic.twitter.com/ns5uCay9LO— Christina Vazquez (@CBoomerVazquez) April 27, 2020
“We want the data to drive our decisions,” Suarez said. “We want to make sure that what we do does not create a scenario under which we reverse course.”
A surveillance study in Miami-Dade County released last week showed that half the people tested for COVID-19 antibodies displayed no symptoms of the virus. It estimated that more than 100,000 people in the county could be infected, even though there are less than 12,000 confirmed cases.
“That’s why we have to assume that everybody is contagious,” Giménez said. “That’s why, when we open up the spaces, we have to take these measures.”
.@MayorGimenez says for right now @zoomiami remains closed. He also explains some of the new rules for boaters (Hint: efforts here to prevent sandbar parties.) 👇 https://t.co/4v1BA9vPXl pic.twitter.com/SD3tUKqREG— Christina Vazquez (@CBoomerVazquez) April 27, 2020
Among the rules, high-contact team sports — like pickup basketball — will be prohibited at the parks. Playgrounds and outside exercise equipment will remain closed.
As for the waterways, they’re taking precautions to curb sandbar parties, including requiring boats to remain 50 feet apart.
Golfers will go out on their own carts (with no caddies) to help maintain social distance.
(Broward County says it will post its executive order Tuesday at Broward.org/Coronavirus.)
Watch a replay of Mayor Giménez’s news conference below:
Watch a replay of Mayor Holness’ news conference below:
COVID-19 Community Update - Press Conference April 27, 2020 https://t.co/SpJyQr4k7s— Broward County Government (@BrowardCounty) April 27, 2020