Local leaders announce all South Florida beaches closed for 4th of July weekend

LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA, FLA. (WSVN) - South Florida leaders are closing the beaches for the Fourth of July weekend as the number of COVID-19 cases in the state continues to rise.

On Monday morning, Broward County Mayor Dale Holness issued an emergency order to close the beaches for the holiday weekend. On the same day, Monroe County leaders announced their beaches and parks would be closed as well.

“Dade County has already closed their beaches, Palm Beach is closing theirs. We’ve seen a large increase in the number of positive tests over the past week. It is alarming. We have to do everything we can to protect ourselves and our community and our economy,” Holness said.

Florio’s of Little Italy in Hollywood will have the same amount of staff this weekend because the boardwalk will stay open in Broward County.

Giuseppe Viscito, the owner of Florio’s, said, “The fear is that we’re going to have a crowded boardwalk. It’s going to be worse than a crowded beach. After 50 years, no fireworks. I mean it’s unusual, but this year we’ve seen a lot of strange things. If we make less money, we make less money. We’re all in this together.”

Officials said it would be reckless to keep the beaches open for the upcoming holiday, considering the rising trend in cases.

Broward and Monroe County’s beach closures comes after Miami-Dade, Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea and Hallandale Beach‘s city leaders announced they’d close their beaches for the holiday weekend.

Also on Monday morning, another 5,266 cases of the coronavirus were reported by the Florida Department of Health.

An additional 1,508 cases were reported in Miami-Dade, while 425 cases were reported in Broward County.

“We know that if we stay open, we’ll have a crowd here and that would lead to further spread of the COVID-19 disease,” said Holness.

Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Mayor Chris Vincent said, “Our restaurants and our business will be open on the Fourth of July. They will be open on Friday. They will be open on Sunday. We just will not let anyone on the beach publicly.”

Palm Beach County made the same decision to close to prevent people from flocking north in response to the closures.

“It is an unfortunate result, but public health remains the focus of the elected leaders of Palm Beach County,” said Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner.

The unified decision among South Florida city leaders comes after continued weeks of record-high COVID-19 case counts. On Saturday, 9,585 new cases were reported in the state.

Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy said, “Obviously July 4th is a holiday that we all like to celebrate with family and friends. This year while the sandy beach may not be available, you can celebrate at home. I’m sure people will enjoy having barbecues. That creates a risk of spread for the coronavirus that we all don’t want to encounter.”

“Please, make sure that you wear your masks when you’re out in public, make sure you take the proper precautions,” said Pompano Beach Mayor Rex Hardi. “That’s what this is about, keeping people safe.”

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