Crush and clamour for normality as public spaces reopen
Looks like getting back to “normal” needs some rules, regulations and guardrails. Parks, golf courses and marinas were reopened last week — while the region remains in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Wisely, there are stringent measures in place to ensure newly liberated residents remain physically distanced at county parks — masks and all. More than 1,500 face-mask warnings and violations were issued on Miami Beach alone on Wednesday and Thursday, the first two days public spaces were reopened.
The reopened marinas were a whole other story on the weekend. Boaters started lining up on Friday night at Black Point Marina in South Dade to be among the first to hit the water on Saturday. Boaters waited for hours because only 10 vehicles at a time could enter. By 10am, the marina had reached capacity and was shut down.
Unfortunately, boaters went from being trapped in their homes to being held hostage in their trucks and cars. And the unlucky ones got turned away.
This reopening thing is new territory for both residents and government administrators. But it’s also a sign that things will not get back to normal smoothly. For example, restaurant owners outside South Florida are finding that reopening is not the answer to everything. Under the social-distancing rules they can only serve a limited number of diners.
A trip to the supermarket no longer is an absent-minded exercise in stocking the fridge and the pantry. Shoppers have to pay attention; they have to follow arrows on the floor to make sure they’re going the right way up the aisle. Everyone should be an expert at eyeballing a distance of two metres by now.
The fact that so many people lined up to go out on their boats shows a community-wide state of mind. After seven weeks mostly indoors, residents need some head-clearing space.
But the coronavirus pandemic has not gone away, not in South Florida, and not in Miami-Dade. Vigilance, common sense and planning are as essential as the employees, first responders and service providers who continue to put their lives on the line to deliver the ongoing quest for “normal”. /Miami, May 2.