Statement from Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez
As a community, we begin to look ahead to what can only be referred to as a “new normal.” Our lives have changed due to the COVID-19 crisis, so, as we move forward, we need to take every recommended precaution, while still considering how to slowly but surely resume public life and business.
Today, Wednesday, April 15, 2020, I had a very informative and productive virtual meeting with health experts from the Florida Department of Health, Jackson Health System, and the University of Miami, among others, to go over what conditions need to exist to begin lifting certain restrictions for parks and open spaces. There is agreement among them that, from the perspective of improving the mental and physical health of our residents during this pandemic, it is important for people to go outside and get some sunshine and exercise. At the same time, we do not plan on resuming any outdoor activities until the conditions are right, based on medical recommendations.
The Parks and Open Spaces Working Group, which met today as well, includes state officials, as well as local and county officials from Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties. The Children’s Trust, the League of Cities, the Miami Foundation, leaders of parks programs for kids, as well as boating, fishing and golfing industry representatives are also part of this working group, which, after today, will break up into four subgroups, each of which will have medical professionals as advisors. One group will focus on parks and what activities might be allowed and when. Another will focus on marinas and potential boating activities on the ocean and bay. The third group will focus on our beaches, while a fourth will consider golfing. In every case, we will still be stressing social distancing. We will examine what statistical metrics must be met before resuming any activities and will consider what portion of the restrictions to keep in place, depending on conditions.
So far, my emergency orders requiring social distancing and all the “safer at home” protocols have proven successful in tamping down the transmission of COVID-19 and protecting the most at risk — those who are over age 65 and those with certain health conditions, including respiratory and heart problems, diabetes, obesity and a compromised autoimmune system. That’s why I want to emphasize that any unwinding of rules will be done with ZERO TOLERANCE for those who go too far. Miami-Dade Police and other agencies will continue to be out in force when the time comes. Social distancing orders will still be in place at all stages of any changes that are made. Social distancing would be required in any scenario, if and until the medical experts tell us otherwise.
We have been through major changes in our lives and in our community during the last few weeks. We still have a long way to go. But, as I see the potential of light at the end of the tunnel, I invite all our residents and business owners to look toward that light with me. It gives me hope to start making these plans, and I want everyone to feel that glimmer as well. Again, I will always rely on the medical experts to guide this process, but I admit that I am glad that we are planning for a new beginning.