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Miami Beach Parks Open, But Leaders Forced To Close South Pointe Over Social Distancing Rule Breakers

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Jeanette Donatti wants all city of Miami Beach parks open now without restrictions.

"It just seems a bit controlling. It's the outdoors. It doesn't seem like a place where we need to be wearing masks," Donatti said.

More than 30 city parks are open with loosened restrictions. But leaders closed popular South Pointe Park Monday. That put a damper in exercise plans for Ashley Coolio and her sister-in-law, Kelly.

"People kind of took advantage and unfortunately, now we are walking in the street," Ashley Coolio said.

Over the weekend, city park rangers issued 7,300 verbal violations for people not wearing a mask. Close to 500 were for people not social distancing.

Police say most of the problems came from South Pointe.

In a statement, City Manager Jimmy Morales said people were hostile toward workers.

"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," he said.

A neighbor supports the move.

"Most people, I'll be honest with you, aren't adhering to what needs to be done," he said.

City Commissioner Mark Samuelian is proposing a city resolution in hopes of persuading county leaders to allow condos and apartments to open pools.

"It's a place for people to enjoy the outdoors. Frankly, I think that would help alleviate some of the pressure that we've had, for example at South Pointe Park," the commissioner said.

The city leader supports closing South Pointe for now because of the problems and leaving other parks open.

He also knows new Federal worst-case death toll projections have been revised to 135,000 deaths by August. But he says the city is moving at a pace that's safe and backed by data.

"The key to social distancing is to not have too many people so we can do proper enforcement and to also protect the safety of our front line employees," the commissioner said.

As for two sisters-in-law, they have a simple idea on how to keep current city parks open.

"Wear your mask and follow the rules," they said.

Children under 2 aren't required to wear a mask. Also, if you have breathing problems or if you're doing a tough work out, you're also exempt.

For more information on Miami Beach openings, click here.

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