Florida closes beaches for July 4 weekend as COVID-19 rates rise

Several counties in South Florida, including Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe (home of the Florida Keys) are closing their beaches for the July 4 holiday weekend as part of a state effort to obtain the control over the increased COVID-19 infection rate

The Florida Department of Health reported 5,266 new confirmed cases of COVID on Monday, the sixth consecutive day that at least 5,000 new cases and 28 more deaths have been announced, according to Florida Today, part of the USA TODAY network.

The state now has more than 146,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 3,400 deaths. The cases have more than doubled since Florida entered Phase 2 of its reopening plan on June 5.

“Caution was thrown into the wind and then we are where we are,” Governor Ron DeSantis said during a press conference on Sunday.

This is what you need to know:

Miami Dade

Beach closing dates: 12:01 am EDT, Friday, July 3 at 11:59 pm Monday, July 6

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Giménez announced Friday that he would shut down his county’s coastline, which includes Miami Beach, South Beach and Sunny Isles. The closure will be effective from Friday, July 3 to Monday, July 6 at night, as indicated in the order.

Gatherings of more than 50 people, including parades and protests, will also be banned. County parks will close at 8 pm EDT during that period and fireworks displays must be viewed from your home or from a parked car.

Giménez warned that county police will be “in effect” over the weekend by closing establishments that refuse to obey Miami-Dade’s policies of social distancing and masking. “Violators face a second-degree criminal penalty of up to $ 500 and 180 days in jail,” he added.

Giménez also warned: “The closure can be extended if conditions do not improve and people do not follow the new normal rules that require the use of masks always inside commercial establishments and outdoors when social distancing of at least six is ​​not possible. feet”.

Broward County

Beach closing dates: 12:01 am Friday, July 3 at 11:59 pm Sunday, July 5

“In light of the recent increase in reported positive cases of COVID-19

within our county and the state of Florida, and the upcoming temporary closure of beaches in Miami-Dade County, the county administrator deems it necessary to close the beaches of Broward County for the July 4 holiday weekend “says the order, issued on Monday.

Violators are subject to a $ 500 fine and up to 60 days in jail, although anyone who knowingly commits a “violation that is irreparable or irreversible in nature” could face fines of $ 1,000 per day or up to $ 15,000 per incident .

Fort Lauderdale had already taken its own action the day before.

“The arena will be closed to visitors, tourists and locals from Friday, July 3 to Sunday, July 5,” Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis announced Sunday during a press conference.

“Everyone should be able to come to our beaches and enjoy the beautiful sun and water and all the beautiful things we have here in Broward County, but unfortunately, on a normal holiday weekend, it is very difficult for us to enforce all the protocols required by the CDC. We are working together with all the beaches in Broward County, all the mayors of the coastal beaches. It is important to understand that we are all working together to keep our environment safe. “

Trantalis added that the companies would remain open (although the state will only allow independent bars to sell alcoholic beverages) and that the county may close one lane of the A1A highway to allow people to walk near the beach.

Palm beach county

Palm Beach County officials said the beaches will be closed this weekend, but as of noon Monday, no notice had yet been posted on the county’s website, The Palm Beach Post, part of the USA TODAY network, reported. .

Mayor Dave Kerner told CNN on Sunday that he expected to issue the order on Monday. “Unfortunately, this Fourth of July will not be spent on the beach,” he said in the interview.

Monroe county

Beach closing dates: 5 pm EDT Thursday, July 2 to Tuesday, July 7

On Monday, Monroe County, which encompasses the Florida Keys, released a press release saying that all public parks and beaches there would also close. starting Thursday at 5 pm until opening hours on Tuesday.

Masks are also required for anyone over the age of six in all public settings and businesses in the Florida Keys, where there is a ceiling above.

Other counties are still considering their options.

According to the USA TODAY Network media outlet The Naples Daily News, officials in Collier County, the southwest region of Florida, which includes Naples, will meet Tuesday to decide how to manage beach access there.

Brevard County, the east-central region that includes Cocoa Beach and Melbourne Beach, said on its website that it also has a meeting scheduled for Tuesday. USA TODAY has asked for comments on its plans for the holiday weekend.

Not all counties are closing beaches

Lee County, home to Fort Myers, has decided to keep its beaches open, reported The Fort Myers News-Press, part of the USA TODAY Network.

County spokeswoman Betsy Clayton said in an email that the county has created posters asking visitors to follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and to wear masks in all public areas to prevent spread of the virus.

Contributors: Holly Baltz, Palm Beach Post; Patrick Riley and Brittany Carloni, Naples Daily News, Associated Press