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Photograph: Shutterstock/lazyllama

Miami-Dade County just announced it will reopen public parks, marinas and golf courses

By
Virginia Gil
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Miami-Dade County is easing restrictions on social-distancing.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez and his taskforce hosted a virtual town hall meeting on Monday afternoon, where they shared a proposed three-phase plan for reopening the county’s public parks, marinas and golf courses. While an exact date is yet to be determined, phase one will begin with limited access to green spaces, waterways and golf courses. Beaches, as we reported earlier this morning, will not be reopening anytime soon.

Physical fitness, not socializing, is at the core of this new plan, said Gimenez. “We want people to get some fresh air and get some exercise, but still keep away from each other.” That picnic you were planning to have when parks reopened? It will have to wait. Congregating, sitting and hanging out outdoors is still not permitted.

“The mayor and his team have taken our feedback and agree that as long as these recommendations are enforced and monitored, it’s safe to proceed,” said taskforce member Dr. Aileen Marty. Additionally, Dr. Marty recommended that all entrances and exits, as well as trails and walkways, be made into one-way routes.

A number of participants expressed concern over rising Covid-19 cases and the negative impact that allowing access to open spaces will have on new cases, but the mayor assures that phase one isn’t just low-risk, but also totally reversible. ”If we find that somewhere there’s an uptick in a number of infections, none of this has been written in stone. It will be rescinded,” said Gimenez.

Not sure what these new regulations mean for you? We’ve broken down the immediate recommendations for the mayor’s phase-one strategy below.

Parks

Public parks will open from sunrise to sunset. The county’s public parks will open for passive activities, meaning walking, jogging and nature strolls. The use of tennis, basketball and racketball courts will be allowed but only for single-player games and for no more than three people per half-court basketball game. Everyone must bring their own ball and the use of face masks is still encouraged.

You will have access to a bathroom. Restroom facilities inside parks will also reopen and extra measures will be taken to ensure they’re kept clean and sanitized.

Activities should be limited to one to two hours. Seniors will also get priority several times a week across select city parks.

Miami attractions with open spaces will also reopen. The grounds at Deering Estate and Fruit and Spice Park are among the parks that will reopen.

Boat ramps

Boating will be allowed from public marinas. Boat ramps will open daily from 6am to 8pm and one boat per launch area is allowed at a time. Anchoring is once again allowed but boats must remain 50-feet apart. Rafting up or tying up together is not permitted and no more than 10 people are allowed on a boat at once. Boats that are 25 feet or less can only have four adults; boats 25 to 36 feet may accommodate six adults; while boats 37 feet or larger can have up to eight adults and two children on board.

Kayaking, canoeing and paddle-boarding are allowed. Solo riders can drop their nonmotorized vessels at a public spot and hit the open waters.

Jetskiing is permitted. Single jetskiers only.

Golf courses

Public golf courses will reopen. Per the PGA and the U.S.A. Golf Association, golfing is permitted to resume on public courses. Players won’t have caddies and must ride individually in their own golf cart even if they’re a married couple that lives together. Concessions will resume but food and drinks will be served from a safe distance by masked attendees. Plus, pins won’t be taken out and courses won’t be raked to prevent cross-contamination.

How will these new guidelines be enforced?

According to the mayor, there will be zero-tolerance for violators. Individuals who don’t follow the rules will be fined up to $500 and/or subject to arrest.

What will NOT open as part of phase one?

Gyms, gym equipment in parks, swimming pools, dog parks, shelters and playfields.

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