Crowds Prompt Miami Beach South Pointe Park Closure

Miami Beach had opened South Pointe Park and other recreation venues last Wednesday as the city gradually loosened restrictions designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

By Ralph Ellis, Rachel Reiff Ellis, Daryn Eller

May 5, 2020 -- Miami Beach closed a popular city park on Monday after it was flooded over the weekend by sun lovers -- many of them defying the city rule that required face masks.

Miami Beach had opened South Pointe Park and other recreation venues last Wednesday as the city gradually loosened restrictions designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

People were still supposed to still follow social distancing rules, such as not congregating in groups and always wearing face masks, according to the city's website.

"We have had city staff in the park to encourage people to comply, but they were met with hostility and non-compliance," City Manager Jimmy Morales said, according to the Miami Herald.

"We closed the parking lot on Sunday, but that made little difference. As such, the South Pointe Park will be closed until further notice. There is no way to effectively enforce social distancing when hundreds of individuals refuse to do so. The best way to protect our residents and first responders is to keep it closed until further notice."

The Herald reported that since city parks reopened on Wednesday, park rangers have issued 8,880 verbal warnings citywide to park goers not wearing face masks, including 2,829 on Saturday and 2,432 on Sunday. The Miami Beach police tweeted that most of the warnings were issued at South Pointe Park.

Morales said things went well at other city parks.

People poured out of their homes and into parks over the weekend, with large numbers reported in Central Park in New York City and on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The Washington crowds came out to see a precision flight show by the Navy's Blue Angels and the Air Force Thunderbirds.

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References
SOURCE: WebMD, May 5, 2020.