As summer winds down, an estimated six million U.S. travelers are expected to travel for a long weekend escape. Statistics gleaned from a recent TripIt survey show that 12 percent of all airline flights for the Labor Day holiday weekend will head to Florida. That's up from 4 percent of flights for the same period in 2019.
While COVID-19 (coronavirus) continues to be a challenge across the nation, Florida is among U.S. states with cases on the decline, according to a New York Times report. That said, the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel also reported earlier this week that the approach of a potential hurricane this week could be having some impact on testing and reporting of cases.
One Destination's Approach
But as summer travel continues with COVID-19 precautions in place and Americans get ready for Labor Day, many Florida destinations such as Miami Beach’s popular Lincoln Road Entertainment District are expecting more visitors and creating ways to allow them to get out safety and enjoy public spaces.
For example, the entertainment district has worked to safely create alternative uses for vacant retail space, empty parking garages and its open-air pedestrian promenade. Through new arts, cultural and fitness activities, the district is drawing both local residents and visitors alike and in a safe manner to the open-air entertainment district. Here are some of the enhancements:
Boutique to Ballet Pop-Up
The former BCBG boutique has been transformed into a pop-up residence for the Miami City Ballet, where dancers practice their pirouettes on public display in a temporary "theater" of sorts.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Miami City Ballet, which first began operating in 1985 on Lincoln Road. To keep the public safe, those viewing the ballet moves can stand at exterior, pre-marked social-distancing circles can be found on the ground.
The ballet pop-up concept was conceptualized by the Lincoln Road Business Improvement District (BID) and retail leasing/development company, The Comras Company, and will operate on Lincoln Road through October 2020.
Garage to Gym
As many parking lots are empty, the Lincoln Road BID has converted the iconic Herzog & de Meuron-designed garage at 1111 Lincoln Road into an expansive 25,000 square foot fitness studio. Pre-pandemic, it was the site of some of the most sophisticated events in Miami Beach and could accommodate 550 people in its open-air space. Now, it's the site of an open-air fitness studio offering complimentary boot camp and yoga classes.
Classes are limited to 70 participants for social distancing; the floors are pre-marked with squares spaced 10 feet apart; and the venue is sanitized before and after each session. Attendees must sign up online in advance of the class.
From Street to Symphony
Lincoln Road District is home to the New World Symphony (which remains closed due to COVID-19), but the district has tapped its musicians to entertain pedestrians, diners, and shoppers. Roving musicians perform while riding in golf carts as they're driven up and down the road—always in constant motion to ensure crowds do not gather.
So they're performing at a time when the symphony can’t perform for large audiences and social distancing remains critical.
Lincoln Road District also has undertaken daily cleanings of its spaces and an ongoing pressure washing schedule of all pedestrian surfaces. It's also commissioned local artist Jayda Knight, a former Saturday Night Live set designer, to design fashionable face masks that are distributed on Lincoln Road free of charge.