Miami-Dade County beaches that have been closed because of the coronavirus pandemic are set to reopen more than a week after their previous reopening date was pushed back by protests against police brutality.
County Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced Monday that he was lifting a countywide curfew immediately and that beaches would be allowed to open on Wednesday. Visitors will be required to follow new social distancing guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The beaches had been set to reopen June 1 in line with a statewide plan to restart the economy. After a May 30 protest related to the Minneapolis police custody death of George Floyd led to downtown Miami stores being looted and police cars being destroyed, Gimenez instituted a curfew and said he wouldn't reopen beaches until it was lifted.
Meanwhile, gymgoers finally got a chance to return to their workout spots across Miami-Dade on Monday for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic started months ago.
In addition to gyms, summer camps, massage and tattoo studios and public libraries were also allowed to reopen in the county on Monday, Mayor Carlos Gimenez said.
Social distancing guidelines set by the county, state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be followed, which include requiring face masks to be worn when inside the gyms along with items such as towels not being provided at some locations.
“We’re making sure that we have a walk in and out station so that we can capture everybody and get their temperature and make sure everyone’s safe," said Monique Tessier, the General Manager at Adapt Gym in North Miami.
Other new rules include items like personal mats being prohibited while some showers and water fountains will not be allowed to be used. Some gyms will also be requiring temperature checks to enter.
“It’s very different, but it makes me feel a lot safer seeing we’re all taking the proper precautions and still being able to work out so I think it’s good for us all," said Anna Morales, who hit the gym Monday morning.
The announcement came after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis moved most of the state into phase two of reopening, allowing for eased restrictions on locations such as restaurants, and the reopening of bars, nightclubs and more in all counties except Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach.
Gyms will be able to operate at full capacity.
While South Florida will not be included in the initial phase two reopening date, county mayors can still send a written request to the governor asking to be added. Gimenez said he is working with the state on reopening locations, saying he expects them to open "very soon."
The City of Miami Beach announced Friday that more businesses and facilities would be allowed to reopen as of Monday as long as they follow sanitary guidelines - including gyms, fitness studios, tattoo parlors, massage studios and summer camps that have all been given the green light to reopen.
Movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses and bowling alleys are also allowed to reopen if they submit a "COVID mitigation plan" to the city and county.
Standalone bars and nightclubs must remain closed and entertainment is not allowed, but bars or pubs that are licensed as public food service establishments are allowed to open to sell food and drinks.