Beach shutdown for July 4 weekend causes some confusion

Business that operates on Virginia Key caught in the nuance outside emergency order

The City of Miami is working with the Virginia Key Outdoor Center to clear up some questions about what they will able to do while the beach is closed July 4 weekend.

MIAMIUPDATE: The City of Miami came to a plan with Virginia Key Outdoor Center so that paid summer day campers will be allowed and weekend rental reservations can be honored. They can access the front entrance of the Virginia Key Beach Park with their rental reservations to access the eco-tourism business. ”Only customers that show the established reservation confirmation will be permitted into the park,” the city says.

People with bikes can also still use the public bike trails there this weekend despite the beach shutdown. Vehicles with bikes will be allowed in from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. daily to use the trails.

No access to the beach will be allowed.

ORIGINAL STORY: Esther Alonso-Luft says that as soon as she reopened Virginia Key Outdoor Center, there were customers eager to enjoy the beauty of Virginia Key.

Her family-run company rents paddleboards, kayaks and mountain bikes. They also offer a summer day camp for kids.

Though operating at a reduced capacity, they were making it work. Then came a sudden announcement that Miami-Dade beaches will close from July 3-7 — causing disruption and confusion.

“What we are seeing is there are visitors who are coming from other parts — mostly from the state of Florida — and this year we don’t know what is going to be happening next,” Alonso-Luft says.

She doesn’t know, because her business falls into the nuances missed in broad executive orders. The outdoor recreational center is located in Virginia Key Beach Park on the edge of a tranquil lagoon.

“As you can see we are at a boat ramp that launches into a lagoon, so we are technically not on the beach, nor are the mountain bike trails,” she said. “But the park itself is on the beach, and so there’s some confusion and ambiguity on whether we will be able to open and how they will manage access to the beaches.

“There are decisions that are made to encompass the most without consideration for the few and that’s I think creating a lot of anxiety that we could do away with,” Alonso-Luft added.

That uncertainly extends to parents who rely on her day camp. The City of Miami is working with Alonso-Luft and trying to figure out a plan.

About the Author:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."