Most Vanderbilt Beach visitors abide by time restrictions, say no harm done

Vanderbilt Beach opened Friday morning with time restrictions, and at the 11 a.m. closing time, officials experienced little to no pushback from beachgoers.

It was a normal morning on the beach, cut short.

“We’ll be back at 5 p.m., I guess,” said Pablo Fernandez who lives in Naples.

This comes after commissioners voted last week to close beaches from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., partly to prevent out-of-towners like Jose Casanova from overcrowding the beaches after the closures in Miami-Dad and Broward counties.

“We are on vacation. We are in a house close by,” said Casanova, who is visiting from Miami.

Locals we spoke with like the decision.

“I think it’s sensible, especially on a holiday weekend,” said Norma Dasilba of Naples.

As the 11 a.m. deadline neared, some got out quickly.

“Early is always better than later,” Fernandez said.

Others waited until the last second.

“We might try to linger here a little bit after 11,” said Rob Johnson, visiting from Nashville.

But shortly after 11, the beach mostly cleared on its own, with some just needing a little nudge.

Some left with time to kill, like Jacob Buda from Nashville: Now we’re just trying to figure out what we can do in between.”

Others had a plan for their day. “We have a pool in the house, so we are going to the pool, make some sausages and then we will come back,” Casanova said. “No harm done at all.”

Everyone we spoke with Friday said most people were trying their best to social distance.

As 5 p.m. approached, beachgoers waited patiently as the barriers were pulled away, allowing them to rush in, anxious to get their last couple of hours of beach time for the day.

The beach quickly filled up, with most people not wearing masks, but abiding by social distancing guidelines.

These restrictions will be in place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until Miami-Dade and Broward county beaches reopen.

Reporter:Rachel Cox-Rosen
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