By Jessica Vallejo

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Beach was packed Saturday with tourists soaking up the sun, but there was not much in terms of social distancing.

The restaurants on Ocean Drive were busy with people already celebrating Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day.

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“What we are is prepared. Miami Beach is a special event destination year-round. We have been going through COVID for quite some time. There had been a lot of restrictions. What we are seeing now is many more folks coming into Miami Beach, not following guidelines and measures that are still in place,” said Ernesto Rodríguez of the Miami Beach Police Department.

Miami Beach Police Department Public Information Officer Ernesto Rodriguez says they have a larger police presence throughout Miami Beach that will be enforcing those CDC guidelines.

“The objective is not to make arrests, if arrests are necessary, we will and we have adequate staffing to do so, but our main priority is safety,” said Rodriguez.

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Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease specialist, is warning those out and about that, we are still very much in the midst of the pandemic. Also, reminding folks that the new variants in the US are more contagious.

“Recognize that is a problem because these variants tend to take over and in South Florida, we have one of the highest detection rates for the UK variant right now,“ said Dr. Marty.

If you are going out to eat for the holiday weekend, Dr. Marty advises not only to social distance and wear a mask but to make sure there are no leakage areas from your masks.

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“Many masks have leakage areas and we want to reduce that. Make sure that there is plenty of well-ventilated spaces, and employees are following the guidelines.”

Jessica Vallejo