MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade and the City of Miami will finally open their beaches this Wednesday, but the openings will come with restrictions.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “We are obviously going to be careful but we can not stayed closed forever. At some point, we needed to open and we are as prepared as we can be. The rules are simply. No groups of more than 10 and respect social distancing. We are in the middle of a pandemic. Close to 800 people have died in our county and we want to do whatever we can do to make sure that our economy will open up safely while practicing the best procedures. We have to do that. This is the only way to do this and keep people at work.”
Gelber said “The pandemic has had an especially acute impact on the hospitality industry. There are tens of thousands of jobs that are impacted.”
On Miami-Dade beaches, no groups of more than 10 people will be permitted.
Facial coverings must be worn when social distancing is not possible, except for members of the same household. Due to this restriction, all beachgoers must have facial coverings available and ready to use at all times. They must be able to show their mask if asked by the beach patrol or police.
Facial coverings must be worn in restrooms and when at concession stands. Restrooms will have dedicated attendants stationed outside. Access to restrooms will be limited to maintain social distancing. The restrooms will be cleaned every two to three hours.
Tourists and residents say they are excited about the reopening of beaches.
George Jarkesy, who is staying on South beach with his family from Houston, told D’Oench, “We have 4 kids and without the beach Miami Beach is not much fun. We are excited about the reopening and we have been here since sunday and had hoped the beaches would reopen on Monday. We even considered leaving and going home because they weren’t open.”
Marianna Meda says instead of swimming, she’s been jogging near the beach with her Bullmastiff but she missed the beach.
“I am super excited about this,” she said. “I have been waiting for almost 3 months.”
Jose Hortensa of Miami Beach said “Tomorrow we are going to see it and I am very happy. We have been waiting forever. On June 1st I was planning to come here and then it was cancelled at the last minute.” The reopening was delayed because of recent demonstrations and looting and a curfew that was imposed.
Broward beaches reopened the day after Memorial Day.
Business has suffered since March 19th when the beaches were closed.
Matthew Bettant, the owner of Bettant Bakery, said “The beaches here on South Beach have been empty and the streets were empty. There were no people and that was rough. It’s great with the reopening. We are expecting more people.”
Ray Schnitzer, who has owned and run the 11st St. Diner on Miami Beach across the street from the police headquarters, coincidentally had planned to reopen on Wednesday.
“It’s great,” he said. “It’s a good feeling. I have been closed almost 3 months now and we are getting prepared. We are taking all the precautions. Everyone on staff has been tested and we are taking their temperatures. The last thing we want to see is any problems and the virus returning.”
Organized group activities for two or more, like volleyball, football, or soccer will not be allowed.
Picnic pavilions and playgrounds will be off-limits and there will be no special events, including group picnics, allowed.
No dogs or pets will be allowed on the beach except on designated dog-friendly beaches. Dogs must be kept on a leash.
The City Of Miami’s two public beaches will open with restricted hours.
For Virginia Key Beach Park/North Point, the beach will be open daily from 9:15 a.m. yo 5 p.m. The park will open daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Virginia Key North Point mountain bike trails will also open on Wednesday.
Historic Virginia Key Beach Park will be open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 is asked not to go to the beaches or parks.
Face masks will be required when entering and leaving the beach, when walking around the beach and when using the restrooms.
Like the county restrictions, beachgoers must stay at least six fee way from anyone who is not their household, and no groups of more than 10 people are allowed.
No special events or group picnics will be allowed, nor will organized group activities like volleyball or soccer.
Changing rooms, picnic pavilions, and playgrounds will be off-limits.
There will be no sharing of equipment outside an individual’s household, canopies or tents are not allowed and no dogs or pets will be allowed on the beach.
Fishing will not be allowed.
The city has also prohibited glass bottles and alcohol.