By Jessica Vallejo

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As expected, South Florida beaches were packed for the start of Labor Day weekend.

“It’s a lot more crowded than expected. I didn’t think there would be so many people out here. I see a lot of people wearing their masks, but I haven’t seen many people social distancing,” said one visitor.

“It is super crowded, but it is spacious,” said another.

Police have been patrolling the beach, enforcing rules, and giving out fines making sure people are wearing their masks and social distancing.

“I don’t believe in Corona, but if it’s mandatory for me to wear a mask then I will wear it,” said Martha Vallier, visiting from Maryland.

“I am afraid of the Corona, so we are wearing our mask. We have to wear our mask even in the hotel.”

Friday, Miami Dade Mayor Carlo Gimenez did warn locals and tourists that this weekend is a big test. Especially as our COVID numbers have trended down.

Miami-Dade has had a two-week average positivity rate of 7.42 and Broward, a rate of 4.85.

“We have fines countywide if you fail to follow the new normal rules. $100 for individuals, $500 for businesses. Businesses that don’t follow the rules can and will be shut down. Mask up or pay up,” said Gimenez.

And in an effort to keep those numbers down, on Ocean Drive, Aladdin Knight the beverage manager of the Palace Bar says they have extra security throughout their venue to enforce the rules.

“A lot of tourists that come here don’t understand. So we just let them know in a nice manner that you are more than welcomed to get up go to the bathroom what not…but you have to have your mask on at all times unless you are sitting at a table.”

And over along busy Las Olas Boulevard in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, El Camino Restaurant has also put in their part.

“We make sure that everyone is spaced out and perfectly socially distanced. It definitely is a challenge but we have received zero violations.”

Sheriff Gregory Tony has also warned against throwing large house parties.

“We can’t have that type of environment during this holiday season. If we are going to continue to push through COVID-19, it goes back to the community.”

Jessica Vallejo

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