Massive Lines Form at Marinas as Floridians Rush to Get on Water Amid Easing Lockdown Restrictions

A marina in Florida reopened briefly this weekend, but it filled to capacity almost at once. According to a report by Local 10 News, the Crandon Marina saw lines of people waiting their turn to get near the water on its first weekend back open. The situation got so bad that authorities eventually re-closed the marina.

Miami-Dade police were stationed at the entrance and exit of Crandon Marina on Saturday, with the intention of enforcing the new rules surrounding social distancing. Before long, there were too many people for them to watch over, with cars lined up down the road — many of them towing boats. On Saturday, Crandon Marina reportedly closed at 6 a.m., having already met capacity under the new guidelines. Many people said they were frustrated with what they saw as a glimmer of false hope.

"Just want to get back out again," one local boater told Local 10 on Sunday. "Everybody's been trapped inside, and you're seeing everybody go out." That person noted that they were the very first person to arrive at the marina on Sunday, pulling up at 1 a.m. Other marinas in Miami-Dade County saw similar crowds this weekend. Mayor Carlos Gimenez tried to assuage people who were frustrated.

"There is light at the end of this COVID tunnel, but it will be mean working differently and that’s why this is a new normal," he said.

Black Point Marina reportedly saw lines about a mile long on Friday, though one boater told Local 10 that the reduced capacity in the marina meant lighter boat traffic on the water itself. Another person said that they were eager to get back on their boat if they could, but not at the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.

"I mean, it's for everybody's safety, so it doesn’t bother me at all. You know, it doesn't matter that we have to wait. That's what we have to deal with right now," he said.

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The new rules in Miami-Dade County mandate that no boat can carry more than 10 passengers at most, and boats must remain at least 10 feet apart on the water. The real choke point is the marina, however, as only one boat at a time may launch from the ramp. People are also required to wear masks while in the marina itself.

While parts of Florida and other states are working to reopen, the coronavirus pandemic is far from over. Experts have warned that some states are risking increased infection by opening up too fast. For the latest information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit the websites of the CDC and the World Health Organization.