By Joan Murray

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Three days after Gov. Ron DeSantis unexpectedly moved the state into Phase 3, relaxing COVID-related restrictions, South Florida is dealing with the aftermath.

Over the weekend in south Florida, as bars reopened statewide, large crowds were spotted at some establishments with little social distancing and no masks.

The iconic Elbo Room on Fort Lauderdale Beach was one such place.

“Last night it was just crazy. There was so many people, so we waited till today to come by and I’m keeping my mask on,” said Catherine Tyson, a Broward resident.

“I saw so many people on Friday night enjoying their night. There was energy,” said Pete Wood, who lives on Las Olas.

Many like Chris Nelson wore no mask.

“We need our freedom,” he said. “And hopefully the virus will stay down. I mean time will tell.”

Fort Lauderdale’s mayor said it won’t be the case much longer.

“It was concerning. Like a dam had been unleashed,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis.

The mayor said the county is working on an order to tighten restrictions at bars so there isn’t a sudden surge in COVID cases.

“Much like we required restaurants, table settings, seating outdoors, six feet apart to keep everyone safe,” he said.

Florida restaurants and bars can operate at full capacity with no restrictions, but cities and counties can still impose a minimum 50% capacity restriction if they can justify it to the state.

In Broward, nightclubs, pubs, breweries, cigar bars, and strip clubs are allowed to open at a 50% capacity indoor and a 50% capacity outdoors. If a business wants to operate at 100% capacity, social distancing must be enforced. Seating is not permitted at bar counters.

Table, limited to six people, must be positioned to keep customers six feet apart. Onsite dining is not allowed from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

In Miami-Dade, and 11 p.m. curfew is still in effect.

Also under the Phase 3 order, local leaders can’t fine people for failing to wear a mask in public.

Miami-Dade and Broward counties say local face mask rules are still in effect.

Businesses can still be fined for mask violations.

Countywide, many parks that have been closed are reopening.

In Broward, Brian Piccolo Sports Park & Velodrome in Cooper City and C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines both partially reopened on Monday. C.B. Smith Park is still be used as a coronavirus test site.

Central Broward Park & Broward County Stadium in Lauderhill and Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach partially reopened on Sunday.

Visitors must bring a facial covering and wear it when they are within six feet of another person.

They’re urged to wash their hand regularly and avoid public surfaces such as hand railings.

Social gatherings of groups of 10 and fewer will be permitted if practicing physical distancing guidelines.

Also on Monday, Miami reopened almost all of their parks.

Only two city parks were not reopened open – Domino Park and Billy Rolle Park.

E.G. Sewell Park will also remain closed until further notice pending completion of construction work on park upgrades.

In order to keep parkgoers safe, there are some restrictions.

  • Masks or facial coverings must be worn at all times unless doing vigorous exercise (ex: jogging, running)
  • Parkgoers must restrict their activities and proximity to individuals from their own household only, with limited and specific exceptions
  • Volleyball courts remain closed
  • Playgrounds and outdoor fitness courts remain closed
  • Recreation Centers remain closed
  • Indoor activities and programs remain suspended
  • Use of water fountains is strictly prohibited
  • Restroom facilities at parks remain closed

Informal group activities such as pickup sports games, birthday parties, and barbeques remain strictly prohibited.

The following organized activities will be allowed only if the organizer has secured a permit from the City of Miami Department of Parks & Recreation.

  • Skills and Drills for youth sports: organizing entities are required to limit a defined “pod” of 1 coach to 9 or less children for training and keep pods separate in their activities. Permit required for this activity to commence.
  • Health and Wellness Fitness Classes: permits will be issued, but fitness classes MUST be 1 instructor and 9 or less participants, and with an approved permit only defining hours, locations and days.
  • 6ft social distancing is mandatory throughout class and practice sessions.
  • Participants must wear mask up to the point of participation, take off and put back on once participation stops.

Doubles play is now allowed on tennis and racquetball courts which are no longer limited to singles play only.

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