As COVID-19 cases continue to increase in Miami-Dade, rules on social distancing, face-covering, and bans at parks differ per city.
On Wednesday Miami-Dade county plans to end its six-week closure of parks and other recreational facilities. But this news comes with some caveats: Miami will keep its city parks closed at this time.
Likewise, Coral Gables plans to keep more than 35 parks smaller than one acre closed for now. Amelia Earhart Park will also remain closed, as it is a testing site for COVID-19. Beaches in Miami-Dade will remain closed, and Everglades, Biscayne national parks, and state parks will be closed until further notice from the federal and state governments.
“This is the new normal,” Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez told reporters as he outlined the new park rules, which were developed with a group of government administrators and health professionals, among others, including Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon and Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease researcher at Florida International University.
The complete list of rules spans seven pages and covers everything from social distancing to golf course preparation and boat ramp protocol, as well as the use of bathrooms. Of course, everyone (except families who live together) must follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) social distancing guidelines, meaning they must stay at least six feet from other people at all times.
Other rules include:
- One-way walking on trails.
- Bans on group activities such as singles tennis, which will be allowed, but not doubles.
- Basketball games are not permitted, but up to three people can shoot baskets per half-court (provided each has their own ball).
- Soccer balls can be kicked in fields, but soccer games are not allowed.
- Family members from the same household may participate in sports skills practice together.
Visitors to the parks must wear face coverings, except for children under the age of two, but rules allow for masks to be removed during “strenuous physical activity.”
The mayor disclosed during his announcement that the rules will be enforced by 400 private security guards hired by the county.
The parks’ opening comes as South Florida’s Miami-Dade county remains the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in Florida, with 11,927 confirmed cases of the illness as of Tuesday night. At this time, the state’s toll of fatalities has surpassed 1,200.