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Beachside access loosened across South Florida as region slowly begins reopening amid coronavirus pandemic

Social distancing measures eased in many South Florida beachside areas
Social distancing measures eased in many South Florida beachside areas

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Parts of South Florida began easing some restrictions on outdoor spaces over the weekend, and more cities are allowing beachside access.

The sand and surf areas, however, remain closed.

The Hollywood Broadwalk remains empty, likely one of the last beachside public spaces to keep residents out.

Some are growing restless and want to access a big part of the place they call home.

"Fort Lauderdale is doing it and they’re off the beach," said Hollywood resident Buddy Winnett. "I think we can do it.”

In Fort Lauderdale, it was the second time the city closed one of the northbound lanes on A1A, from Las Olas Blvd. to Sunrise Blvd to allow room for people to walk and ride bicycles while practicing social distancing.

“Terrific comments, folks loved the extra breathing room, the social space to social distance correctly,” Fort Lauderdale Vice Mayor Steve Glassman said.

Fort Lauderdale allows cyclists, walkers on A1A

Glassman added they received some complaints from drivers due to one lane of traffic being shut down, but he added that A1A in Fort Lauderdale often has traffic on a normal day.

There were no arrests or citations handed out, Glassman said.

Looking further south, just into Miami-Dade County, beachside pathways in Bal Harbour and Surfside were definitely being used again.

But new rules were being enforced, such as people only being permitted to walk northbound on the main path. Southbound walkers were using an adjacent path.

“This is a new initiative that we started in an effort to just keep people safe,” Surfside police Sgt. Jay Matells said.

It's an initiative that residents seemed keen on following.

“I think the residents here realize that if they don’t play by the rules, we could lose it,” Surfside resident Nicole Jacomo said. “And this has been a life saver for so many people, including me. Just to be able to get out in the fresh air -- it’s wonderful.”

About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.