CORAL GABLES, FLA. (WSVN) – The show did go on for two events scheduled in Miami-Dade County this weekend, one day after City of Miami leaders announced the cancellation of two high-profile events due to coronavirus concerns.
7News cameras captured a loud and festive scene in Coral Gables on Saturday, as revelers and vendors lined Miracle Mile during Day 1 of Carnaval on the Mile.
“Enjoying the day, having fun, seeing friends,” said reveler Marlene San Miguel.
But despite the party atmosphere, people said they’re aware that major events around South Florida have been cancelled because of concerns about COVID-19.
“My attitude is when your day comes, your day comes,” said a man.
“Not concerned about it,” said a woman.
“I have to do life,” said a man.
“It is what it is,” said a woman
But festivalgoers are still taking precautions. They were seen taking advantage of hand washing stations and using hand sanitizer.
“We’re trying to stay safe and not pass any germs and not get any germs,” said San Miguel.
It was a similar situation for runners and their supporters at the Superintendent’s 5K Challenge Race for Education in Miami.
“We have lots of hand sanitizer, and we are not touching our face or nose or anything,” said participant Jennifer Andreu.
“We’re just taking precautions and that’s all we can do,” said a woman.
“Washing our hands,” said a man.
Miami Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said he and other leaders consulted experts before carrying on with the annual event.
“The Health Department actually not only gave us clearance, they encouraged participation,” said Carvalho.
Other upcoming events in Miami-Dade are also going on as scheduled. They include:
Miami-Dade County Youth Fair
Jazz in the Gardens
Fort Lauderdale’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Inter Miami’s first match
Not on that list is Calle Ocho. That event’s cancellation has dealt a big fundraising blow to the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana.
Ultra Music Festival is another big event not happening this year, though organizers have already released the dates for 2021.
Speaking with reporters on Friday, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez explained how the city reached this decision.
‘”This decision is not a cause for alarm or panic, but rather that we are doing it in an abundance of caution,” he said.
But a woman at Carnaval on the Mile said she disagreed with the event cancellations.
“I don’t think the festivals need to be cancelled. I think people can be careful with their hands and wash them, and don’t touch things if you’re afraid, but why wouldn’t you come out?” she said. “You’re going to go to the Publix, you’re going to go to the stores. You’re going to go out, so I don’t think the festivals will make it any worse.”
City leaders stressed the decision was made based on guidelines from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention warning about the risks of mass gatherings of 25,000 people or more increasing person-to-person contact.
“We’re saddened by the fact that we have to postpone these events, but ultimately we really are acting in the best interest of the residents, the visitors and the merchants of the City of Miami,” said City of Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina.
Saturday night, organizers for the Dixie Vodka 400, set for March 22 in Homestead, said they are actively monitoring any and all developments when it comes to the virus, but there are no scheduled changes at the moment.
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