FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Broward has reached a consensus to partially reopen beaches in the county.
Broward Mayor Dale Holness and 29 other Broward cities made the decision to open beaches, in addition to hotels and gyms, on a conference call Thursday afternoon.
They have selected next Tuesday, May 26, as the target date for the reopening. Broward leaders selected the day after Memorial Day on purpose to avoid the potential crowds.
Each city in the county can decide to be stricter with their guidelines as hotels, gyms and beaches open up.
“Hospitals beds are available should we see a spurt. We don’t want that. We definitely don’t want to go back to where we have to close down, but we are working toward helping to reopen the economy,” Holness said.
Mandatory social distancing would be maintained, masks worn and sanitizers are to be used.
Residents in Fort Lauderdale have been enjoying the restaurants and some outdoor exercise, but say they’re looking forward to moving a few yards over to the sand.
“We’re thrilled man we can wait to play beach rugby again. It’s what we’ve been waiting for he entire summer,” said one resident.
But there will be restrictions, i’s just unclear what they will be.
CBS4 spoke to Fort Lauderdale Vice Mayor Steven Glassman, who said police and life guards are ready to go. But as of Thursday evening no specific restrictions have been announced by the county.
“We haven’t been shown the emergency order or exactly what the plan is from Broward county. We’re still waiting for that,” he said. “We need to know exactly what that plan is and we need to exactly know what it is we’re going to be enforcing.”
As far as gyms, there has been some confusion as to whether they could reopen in Broward.
At first, Fort Lauderdale went against the county’s emergency order and allowed them to reopen on Monday. Now the city is saying close them up again.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said he made the decision rather than have gyms in the city risk fines or other trouble.
Upload Fitness on Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale opened Thursday morning but later closed. The gym’s owner, Jonathan Larkin, said he was regretfully complying with the city’s mandate.
“It’s a little frustrating. We provided the safest environment, being CDC compliant in every single area. We probably six feet between people, if not 20 feet, and people are coming in with masks, and they are using sanitizer on their hands, we’re taking their temperature, we’re out cleaning the equipment like never before. When we heard we could open, you know, we were proactive because we had everything ready. It’s a little frustrating because now the mayor says listen I recommend that you close,” he said.
Larkin has another location in Boca Raton and that is where he is directing his members to go. Palm Beach County has allowed their gyms to open.
Larkin said he and his fellow fitness owners in the city hope that maybe by next week the city and county will sort this out and they will be allowed to reopen and their fitness fanatics can get back to their routine.
Miami-Dade County is a different story. Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s office told CBS4 the county’s beaches will remain closed. While the two counties have been coordinating on the issue, Miami now seems to be a step or two behind their neighbors to the north.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber told CBS4’s Mike Cugno that a June reopening of beaches and hotels is a possibility.
“Our commissioner and our manager would be inclined to open in early June, possibly earlier, but I wouldn’t support that,” he said.
Mayor Gelber said there’s no exact science to reopening in these areas and trying to police the 7 ½ miles of beach in his city will be difficult.
“You’re going to have to accept a certain level of… you’re going to have to be tolerant of non-compliant behavior and I don’t think we’re going to be arresting people,” he said. “I don’t think that’s something we want to do.”
Gelber said on Friday there will be commission meeting where more discussions about reopening hotels and beaches in Miami will happen.