As the country begins to take tentative steps towards reopening public spaces, Florida has also made several announcements this week to do just that. This Wednesday morning, Miami-Dade county is opening up public parks, but don't put on your swimsuit just yet. As the reported epicenter of novel coronavirus cases in Florida, these open spots will still come with some restrictions.
Both Miami-Dade and Broward counties are allowing residents to enter public parks and other recreational spaces today, including some sports courts, boat ramps, and golf courses.
Hours will be limited and social distancing is a must. Visitors will be required to wear face covers, as well as not participate in organized sports at this time.
Miami has been taking the lead in cases logged in Florida, with 11,831 reported in Miami-Dade, followed by Broward with less than half of Miami's numbers at 4,847 according to Florida’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard. The dashboard regularly updates as new cases are reported.
Even with a large number of cases, The City of Miami is moving towards reopening.
Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale have also opened select parks and marinas. Some amenities at the opened locations will still be closed though, such as bathrooms, playgrounds, and certain sports facilities.
Hundreds of security guards have been hired to enforce these new reopening rules, and those caught violating the restrictions could be forced to leave or even fined up to $500.
Rodney Baretto, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commissioner and member of Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s reopening task force in Miami-Dade, was quoted in a CBS Miami report as saying the road to reopening was no easy task because no one has a map to follow.
“So I think all eyes are going to be watching what we do here,” said Baretto. “And I think it’s time we sort of move these things forward and open some things up.”
Facilities like Hollywood’s Boardwalk, parks being used for COVID-19 testing, Florida state parks, and national parks, will stay closed during this time.
The announcement comes just a week after many Lee County parks and preserves also opened back up to the public.
The reopened parks will be accessible from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with boat ramps open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., golf courses from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and tennis centers from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
*Photos used for illustrative purposes only.