MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Gyms, beaches, and hotels across Broward County are each allowed to reopen Tuesday after being closed for months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s nice to finally be able to get back into it,” said Brian Stepp who was the first person to arrive at Upload Fitness in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday morning.
Face coverings at gyms are not required when working out or cooling down, according to the county’s emergency order. But, temperature checks, social distancing, and limited capacity are among the requirements.
“Working with our cities, the state, and the county to get us to this place, where we can make a step forward. It is going to take all of us, continue to collaborate across city lines. Covid-19 knows no city boundaries,” said Broward Mayor Dale Holness.
Up and down Broward’s 41 miles of beaches, locals walked and jogged on the sand and took a dip in the ocean.
No sunbathing is allowed and social distancing is enforced.
Dania Beach’s mayor said she is concerned about people traveling from Miami-Dade County and crowding Broward beaches.
“I would have liked to have waited until Dade opened but we’ll do the best we can with it,” said Mayor Lori Lewellen.
Miami-Dade County has set a target date for beaches to open on June 1.
Gyms in Fort Lauderdale briefly opened and then closed again last week after a disagreement with the County. Gov. Ron DeSantis had allowed gyms in Florida to open on May 18, except in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said scenes of beachgoers elsewhere in Florida not practicing social distancing was cause for concern and more reason for Broward County to wait to open beaches after Memorial Day.
“We witnessed cluster gatherings, people not wearing masks, people not respecting social distancing,” Mayor Trantalis said. “So if that’s an example of what we would see on our own beaches, we’re taking the right steps.”
Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper said a plan is in place if beaches get too crowded.
“If they’re not cooperating and we’re inundated from other areas that are coming to our beaches, we will reserve the right to have to shut them down,” Mayor Cooper said.
Broward County also allowed hotels, motels, and commercial lodging establishments to reopen on Tuesday.
Among other requirements, hand sanitizer must be available at the front desk and social distancing requirements must be posted at first-floor elevator access points.
The county’s emergency order states, “Guests must wear facial coverings in check-in areas, elevators, and all other common spaces, but not in rented rooms.”
Guests should check-in and out online.
Room service will be delivered using a contactless method, and guest room housekeeping must be limited or by-request for the duration of a guest’s stay.
Residents can also report violations anonymously online at mybroward.broward.org, or by calling the Broward County Call Center at 311 or 954-831-4000.
At the Lago Mar Beach Resort and Club in Fort Lauderdale a sign greets visitors and guests, reminding them not to enter with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 and to wear a mask.
In the lobby, an employee is ready to take a guest’s temperature and there’s a hand sanitizer station prominently placed.
Throughout the resort, which reopened on Tuesday, there are precautions and protocols designed to protect guests and employees. And the buzzword is sanitized.
Luggage will sanitized before it comes in the hotel.
Inside guest rooms, remote controls, the telephone, door handles, furniture, and more will be sanitized. The remote control will get a cellophane cover that will be changed with each guest. Decorative pillows have been removed and each room will have a bottle of special disinfectant spray.
“We think that’s critical because although I’m sure they appreciate what we do, I’m sure they’d like to do their own thing, like they do at home,” said Walter Banks, the owner of the resort.
There are also items that guests will no longer see in these hotel rooms — like paper, pens, menus and tour books.
“This desk has been sanitized, of course,” Banks said. “Notice that there’s nothing on that desk.”
Banks has been a business owner in Fort Lauderdale for decades. He’s seen a lot and he believes these changes will reassure guests and will be in place for the foreseeable future.
“I think these are good practices and people will accept a little bit of an inconvenience to have a safe and healthy environment,” he said.
Youth sports and summer camps remain closed in Broward County.
Looking ahead to Wednesday, Miami, Hialeah and Miami Beach will allow dine-in at restaurants.
Miami Gardens will allow barber shops along with hair and nail salons to open
The Florida Keys will also reopen to visitors beginning June 1.