MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Grab your towel and umbrella, Miami-Dade and the City of Miami have opened their beaches.
They were supposed to open earlier this month but that was delayed because of a county-wide curfew. Broward opened their beaches the day after Memorial Day.READ MORE: Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo Says He Can’t Communicate ‘Clearly’ With Mask
“This is a big moment that they’re finally opening up the beach,” said Barbara Haley.
Haley and her two boys were some of the first to get back on the sand.
“The saltwater, the beautiful sunshine,” she said.
As people head back to the beach, they will likely notice hundreds of special “Safe Distancing Ambassadors.”
The volunteers, a mix of 300 county and city employees, will be broken up into two shifts. The goal is to make sure people are following the rules.
“Our number one priority, our number one enforcement mechanism is actually education. That’s what we’re telling all of our officers, that’s what we’re letting these beach ambassadors do. That’s why there’s so many. It’s not just Miami Beach ambassadors but we have folks from Miami-Dade County as well assisting. So we hope with just solid education, people will follow the rules,” said Miami Beach police Officer Ernesto Rodriguez.
“We’ll get used to it. I think we’re all just very grateful and thankful that the beach is open,” said Haley.
Local leaders were happy at how it all unfolded.
“I want to give a big shout out to Miami Beach. Today was uneventful in terms of incidents. It was well patrolled. The city was ready,” said Bill Talbert with the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.
As for Ocean Drive restaurant owners, they could feel the difference Wednesday brought.
“Now we are seeing a little bit more. People walk in a little bit earlier,” said restaurant owner Jose Ormaza. “We definitely want to see more people so business can start improving.”
On Miami-Dade beaches, while swimming and sunbathing are allowed, no groups of more than 10 people will be permitted.
“I hope for the best, I think everyone is going to behave,” said Ingrid Espinal.
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.
Organized group activities for two or more, like volleyball, football, or soccer are not be allowed.
Picnic pavilions and playgrounds are off-limits and there can be no special events, including group picnics.
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 opened with restricted hours.
For Virginia Key Beach Park/North Point, the beach is open daily from 9:15 a.m. yo 5 p.m. The park opens daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
In addition to reopening North Point Beach, the City of Miami Parks & Recreation Department has reopened the Virginia Key North Point mountain bike trails.
Historic Virginia Key Beach Park is 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.READ MORE: CBS4 Nat Moore Trophy Profile: St. Thomas Aquinas Quarterback Zion Turner
Meanwhile, at Bill Baggs Park in Key Biscayne, some could not wait for the gates to open.
“It’s great being out here in open space and fresh air,” said a beachgoer.
“It’s been almost 3 months and to see people like this. I say welcome back and we had a lot of locals here and they are keeping their distance,” said park manager, Art Yerian.
Fisherman Chady Khoury said, “I think the fish have been here for 3 months and sitting and growing up good so I can fish here.”
The excitement is shared by a Canadian tourist on Miami Beach.
“I’m so happy. I am going to leave Sunday and I have been here for 6 months.”
“Today’s my birthday. This is awesome. We are celebrating my 25th birthday,” said Caroline Wagner.
Amid restrictions, social distancing ambassadors were here to make sure beachgoers had masks on hand and stayed 6 feet apart and did not set up canopies or tents.
“They checked to make sure we had masks and they reviewed the guidelines and made sure we had respect for them. Everybody is distancing and everybody is comfortable,” added Wagner.
A look from above Haulover Beach shows more social distancing. Groups of more than 10 people are not allowed.
For Shawnee Chasser, this is heaven. Being able to return to the surf at a section of Haulover Beach where dogs are welcome.
“Me and my dog would come here 3 days a week and we can’t live without the beach,” said Chasser.
Dog parks are open again with social distancing restrictions in places like Homestead, where Christine Baez said of her dog Raven.
“I came here he is excited to play.”
It’s expected the beaches will be busy this weekend.
On Tuesday, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said, “We are obviously going to be careful. You can’t stay hunkered down and closed down forever. You have to open but we are being as careful as we can be.”
Authorities say you should be aware of some other notes.
Face masks are not required for children under the age of 2 years of old or those with trouble breathing due to chronic pre-existing conditions.
Masks are 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 are allowed, nor are organized group activities like volleyball or soccer.
Changing rooms, picnic pavilions, and playgrounds are off-limits.
There is 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 is not allowed.MORE NEWS: Three Teens Accused In Murder Of Miramar Teen Dwight Grant Will Be Charged As Adults
The city has also prohibited glass bottles and alcohol.