FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Miami Beach city commissioners agreed Friday to reopen beaches and hotels beginning June 1, a week after the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
The beaches will reopen about two weeks after retail stores, hair salons and barbershops were allowed to open under Florida’s phase 1 plan.
The commission delayed the reopening of restaurants in the city until Wednesday, two days after Memorial Day.
Officials didn’t want to deal with large crowds at the beach over the long holiday weekend that unofficially kicks off the summer season.
“We have to exercise some measure of caution because there is a natural tension between crowds and physical distancing,” Miami Beach Mayor Gelber said. “How do you manage that in a pandemic? The answer is carefully. We know that Memorial Day is a traditional time for everybody to go to the beach and if we saw hundreds of thousands of people on our beaches, it would be a disaster.”
The decision is likely to result in other nearby coastal cities reopening their beaches, which have been closed to the public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, the Miami Herald reported.
Gelber told commissioners that Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez had been “waiting for us to give him the signal” to reopen the county’s beaches.
Broward County officials set Tuesday as the reopening day for beaches there.
Officials in the Florida Keys also set a June 1 date to reopen for visitors.
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