Miami-Dade Mayor closes boat ramps, marinas amid coronavirus pandemic

HAULOVER BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - The mayor of Miami-Dade County has announced the closure of all marinas and boat ramps in the county, citing large gatherings of boaters on the water amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a release sent out Saturday night, Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced the changes after boaters could be seen on social media gathering at the Haulover Sandbar earlier in the day.

“Effective immediately, all boat ramps at Miami-Dade County parks will be closed until further notice,” Gimenez said. “All marinas will be closed to all boating activities, with the exception of commercial fisherman who provide food for restaurants and markets. In addition, I am ordering the closure of all boat ramps and marinas countywide.”

Gimenez added that he felt “disappointed” when he saw the large gatherings of boaters out on the water.

“We are in a state of emergency, and I cannot stress enough the need for personal responsibility,” Gimenez said. “Current guidelines call for gatherings to be limited to groups of 10 or fewer. These sacrifices in our social lives are critical now in order to defeat COVID-19.”

In addition to the closures, Gimenez said Miami-Dade Police will be out on the water enforcing his order banning rafting, which is when multiple boats tie together so people can jump from one vessel to the other, to prevent large parties from taking place.

“It’s frustrating where we have two boats sitting at the dock and several feet away are hundreds of people with their sandbar party,” said charter boat fishing captain Stan Saffan.

7News cameras captured MDPD boats out on the water enforcing social distancing off Haulover Beach, Sunday.

“We need everyone to take these precautions seriously,” said Gimenez.

Those who need to get their boats out of marinas or use boat ramps to haul their boat out and head home are being allowed to do so, county officials said.

Saffan said he’s just waiting for the all clear.

“So we can go back to doing what we do best –making memories for our customers,” he said.

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