By Ted Scouten

BROWARD (CBSMiami) – Broward officials are working on a plan to slowly reopen the county amid the coronavirus crisis.

“One of the things we’re looking at as part of this soft opening,” said Broward Administrator Bertha Henry.

Henry calling the eventual relaxing of some COVID-19 restrictions as “a soft open.”

“Ultimately, the discussion really centered around opening up very slowly. Obviously, we’re still in this pandemic, we are monitoring what’s happening to us every day. We all recognize at some point we’re going to have to start to open up,” she said.

Miami-Dade released plans to reopen parks, marinas and golf courses with heavy restrictions to make sure there is social distancing.

The plan is for Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and the Keys to do it together.

“We can recall what happened when Dade County closed their parks and then we had ours open and there was a beeline to our parks,” said Broward County Commissioner Nan Rich.

Broward Mayor Dale Holness held a conference call with 28 mayors around the county.

They want to look ahead, past recreational facilities opening to businesses.

“There was comments also about barber shops and beauty salons that they could open a little bit early with folks wearing masks and having social distance in there,” Holness said.

And restaurants too.

“A couple of sentiments, maybe 25% capacity, open those that have outdoor space first.  The conversation is ongoing,” the Broward mayor said.

Leaders said the key to all this is phased openings, and only when medical data and adequate testing support it.

The beginning is likely going to be those recreational facilities, allowing people to safely leave the house for some fresh air.

“It’s not going to be tomorrow, but we’re having that conversation and I’m sure it will happen in the near future that we’re going to start opening and relaxing a little bit,” Holness said.

Many area mayors mentioned they’d like to see some relaxation of the rules at the beginning of May.

Some say that gradual reopening can’t come soon enough.

“This is a place where you should be out and about. It makes sense,” said cyclist Tom Wolf.

Others tell us, it’s too soon.

“I think it’s too early right yet. I’m just by myself, not around anybody,” said cyclist Johnny D.

But Mayor Holness stresses no date has been set, which will depend on the thumbs up from health officials.

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Ted Scouten

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