Miami-Dade County beaches that have been closed because of the coronavirus pandemic have reopened more than a week after their previous reopening date was pushed back by protests.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez lifted a countywide curfew and said beaches would be allowed to open on Wednesday.
“This is why we live in Miami Beach. It’s to enjoy this on a daily basis," said Chris Bonilla, who lives in the city.
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.
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Visitors are required to follow new social distancing guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 when on the beaches, which will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“I feel like it’s just like such a tease to not go. So, it’s so nice that they opened it back up," said Miami Beach resident Caitlyn Smullen.
The beach rules include:
- No groups of more than 10 people will be permitted
- All beachgoers must have facial covering available and ready to use at all times; beachgoers must be able to show their mask upon request by local authority
- Facial coverings must be worn when social distancing of six feet cannot be achieved, except for members of the same household
- Facial coverings are not required for children under 2 years old, persons who have trouble breathing due to a chronic pre-existing condition, persons who are not able to remove face coverings without assistance or on their own or persons involved in strenuous activity. However the person involved in strenuous activity should have a face covering in their possession and must be able to show their mask upon request by local authority
- Facial coverings must be worn in restrooms and when at concessions but are not required when in the ocean
- Facial coverings that are wet are ineffective, so beachgoers should bring an additional clean and dry face covering to replace a face covering that becomes wet or dirty
- Social distancing is not required for family members who reside together, up to a maximum of 10 people
“There’s 140-150 people out here who are going to be on a seven mile stretch of beach enforcing, plus rules for the bathrooms," said Miami Beach city manager Jimmy Morales.
Beachfront restrooms rules:
- Dedicated attendants are to be stationed outside restrooms
- Access to restrooms is limited to maintain six feet of separation between individuals
- Restrooms must be cleaned and disinfected every two to three hours (per CDC guidelines)
- Cross ventilation should be maximized for restrooms – keeping doors and windows open if feasible
- Signage must be posted outside and inside of restrooms emphasizing the requirement of wearing face coverings and the importance of hygiene (flushing with lid closed when possible, handwashing)
Activities Not Permitted:
- No groups greater than 10 persons shall congregate
- No shared equipment (i.e. beach chairs, umbrellas, coolers, etc.) among people from different households
- No canopies or tents
- No organized or group activities and athletics involving groups of two or more (for example, volleyball, football, soccer, frisbee, paddle ball, etc.)
- No gatherings of people from different households, unless social distancing guidelines are maintained – group size shall not exceed 10 persons at any time
- Areas of social gathering in beach parks, including bathhouses (changing rooms), picnic pavilions, playgrounds are not to be accessible
- No special events, including group picnics
- No use of exercise equipment and playgrounds
- No dogs/pets on the beach (except for designated dog-friendly beaches. Dogs must remain on leashes.)
- No fishing on the beach, except at areas specifically designated and while following social distance guidelines