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Message from the Mayor: Coronavirus Update

Message from the Mayor: COVID-19 Update (2)

A Message from Sunny Isles Beach Mayor, George “Bud” Scholl

(Thursday, March 19, 2020) – Today the beach in Sunny Isles Beach closed to the public by issue of Miami-Dade County’s Emergency Order 06-20. I have received many inquiries from residents as to why the beach stayed open as long as it did. We had been requesting that the County close the beach since last weekend when we saw a large influx of beach goers. Unfortunately, the beach is controlled by the State of Florida and Miami-Dade County, and although we provide the Ocean Rescue lifeguards as a public service, we do not have the jurisdiction to close the beach. Furthermore, if we had even taken it upon ourselves to restrict access to the beach, and our neighboring coastal cities did not, then they would have seen a disproportionate share of beach goers regionally, defeating the purpose of our city closure. Today I have also received inquiries as to why the beach cannot stay open. Simply stated it does not promote social distancing. All branches of government are encouraging citizens to stay home whenever possible.

With the above in mind, and in spite of how quickly information is moving and changing, we are trying our best to keep our efforts coordinated with the State, County and our neighboring municipalities. If one city closes certain venues and another leaves them open, this creates confusion and a disparate burden on the open venue. This was the case when Miami Beach closed their beach last weekend and all other County beaches were left open.

The County currently allows gyms, pool decks, and common areas within hotels and condominiums to remain open to serve residents of that complex. Personally, I disagree with that position; without those amenities being constantly disinfected, one resident could spread the virus to many others, as in the case of the gym or pool deck chair.

The City of Sunny Isles Beach is abiding by the County’s rules and we know that each building makes their own decision as to whether to keep these amenities open or not, but we strongly recommend closing all common areas or limiting the maximum number of individuals in a space to 10. The reality is that even if we were to enforce the closure of internal amenities, at this time we do not have sufficient enforcement personnel to administer this order. This being said, we ask each building to take every measure possible to ensure the health and safety of their residents.

Though some may feel inconvenienced, I want you all to know that the City is doing everything in our power to put the health and safety of our community first. We knew that declaring a local emergency was imperative, which was why we acted promptly. We closed our parks, canceled all programs and events, and moved several services to appointments only. Now we are obliged to follow the lead of the County with the closure of the beach, non-essential retail stores, gyms, and bars, and allowing restaurants to only offer take-out, delivery, or pick-up service.

Now it is up to you to do your part. For the last week, we have been publishing links to the State of Florida and CDC resource pages that provide you with the best practices for staying healthy and preventing exposure to the coronavirus. It is prudent to proceed under the assumption that everyone around us has the virus and we have it ourselves. So please exercise appropriate social distancing, wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and stay at home whenever possible.

We will only get through this if we take personal responsibility, practice kindness, and have respect for each other and ourselves. Be prepared, and also be considerate of others. These are unprecedented times, but we are here for you. As a community and a country, we will get through this and come out stronger and more resilient. We will continue to provide the latest City updates and resources on COVID-19 (coronavirus) on sibfl.net/coronavirus.