Miami is closing its beaches for July Fourth weekend as Florida coronavirus cases continue to surge

dschild@businessinsider.com (Darcy Schild)
Visitors flocked to South Beach in Miami Beach, Florida, on June 10, the day it reopened to the public.
Visitors flocked to South Beach in Miami Beach, Florida, on June 10, the day it reopened to the public.

Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

  • Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez signed an emergency order to close all beaches in the area for July Fourth weekend. 

  • Miami-Dade's popular stretches of public beaches and parks will close July 3 through July 7.

  • The announcement follows a surge in coronavirus cases in Florida; on Friday, the state reported nearly 9,000 new positive test results.

  • "We cannot turn back and overload our hospitals, putting our doctors and nurses at greater risk with more emergency room cases," Gimenez wrote in his announcement.

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Florida's recent spike in positive COVID-19 test results is causing some officials to reconsider their reopening measures. 

As a result of the increasing number of coronavirus cases, officials in Miami-Dade County — the state's most populous county — announced that all public beaches and parks will be closed for July Fourth weekend.

Beaches and parks will be closed from July 3 until July 7, but the closure could be extended "if conditions do not improve," according to the office of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

 

The city of Miami Beach — which is located in Miami-Dade County — reopened beaches on June 10 with social distancing guidelines, including limiting groups to no more than 10 people, and requiring people to wear masks while sitting on the sand. 

According to Gimenez, the initial guidelines put into place for beachgoers, recreational activities, and other spaces that reopened may not be enough to protect public health.

"I have been seeing too many businesses and people ignoring these lifesaving rules. If people are not going to be responsible and protect themselves and others from this pandemic, then the government is forced to step in and restore common sense to save lives," Gimenez wrote in the announcement.

The mayor continued: "As we continue to see more COVID-19 positive test results among young adults and rising hospitalizations, I have decided that the only prudent thing to do to tamp down this recent uptick is to crack down on recreational activities that put our overall community at higher risk."

In addition to barring visitors to the county's stretches of beach, Gimenez says officials will enforce the county's ban of gatherings and parades of more than 50 people during July 3 through July 7, and that people can only watch firework displays from their homes or a parked vehicle.

Visitors in Miami Beach on June 16, 2020.
Visitors in Miami Beach on June 16, 2020.

EVA MARIE UZCATEGUI/AFP via Getty Images

Businesses that aren't following mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines could face a second-degree criminal penalty of up to $500 and 180 days in jail, Gimenez said.

"After all the success we have had tamping down the COVID-19 curve, we cannot turn back and overload our hospitals, putting our doctors and nurses at greater risk with more emergency room cases," wrote Gimenez. "This new order will be targeting those who are being most irresponsible and endangering our community's health and our economic recovery."

On Friday, Florida reported the highest single-day total of coronavirus cases of any US state

Florida reported on Friday that there were 8,942 confirmed new infections — which was the largest single-day increase of cases since April 15, when New York reported 11,571 cases, according to Insider science and environment reporter Aylin Woodward.

Also on Friday, the state's Department of Business and Professional Regulation suspended the consumption of alcohol at bars, scaling back on previous reopening measures. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott took similar action by ordering all bars to close by noon on Friday as the state sees recent surges in positive coronavirus test results and hospitalizations.

Read the original article on Insider

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