MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez has signed an order reimplementing a daily curfew, as South Florida prepares to deal with holiday weekend closures.
The order, which Gimenez signed Thursday night, goes into effect on Friday and will last until further notice.
The curfew will be from 10 p.m. through 6 a.m.
The announcement comes on the same day Florida reported more than 10,000 new COVID-19 cases, breaking the record for single-day number of new infections.
Visitors who spoke to 7News in Miami Beach Thursday night weighed in on the mayor’s decision.
“Ten is a little late I think. I think it should be a little earlier,” said Angelica Vega, who is visiting from Connecticut.
“Oh, my gosh, I’m so tired of this COVID scenario. It’s just, I’m tired of it,” said Sunrise resident Clarence Chin.
“I think they did the right thing, especially with the Fourth of July weekend, people act crazy to begin with so I think it was a good move,” said one area resident.
Early Friday morning, several beachgoers tried their luck despite the closed signs and locked gates.
7News cameras captured Miami Beach Police officers patrolling the area and telling the individuals on the sand to leave.
“They said, ‘The beach is closed’ and I told them, ‘Oh, I thought they would close at 5 [p.m.]’ and he was cool about it,” said beachgoer Rocio Cayola. “He said, ‘No worries, we’ll see you at the exit.'”
Jackie Wuth stopped by, hoping to visit the beach before the closure, but was turned away.
“At least for locals, at least in the very early morning, I think it’s a pretty low risk,” said Wuth.
Wuth said she agrees with most of the steps South Florida leaders have taken to prevent large crowds from gathering during the holiday weekend.
“I’ve been finding I’m not doing anything and staying at home, as we’re all supposed to be,” she said.
Essential workers, including first responders, hospital workers, food delivery services and media will be exempted from the curfew.
“This curfew is meant to stop people from venturing out and hanging out with friends in groups, which has shown to be spreading the virus rapidly,” Gimenez said in a statement.
Gimenez also announced that he is signing an order rolling back the reopening of entertainment businesses.
“I am also rolling back the reopening of entertainment facilities, such as movie theaters, arcades, casinos (with the exception of tribal casinos, over which the County does not have jurisdiction), adult entertainment, concert houses, bowling alleys and other establishments that have recently had their plans approved by the County,” Gimenez said in a statement.
Chin and other visitors to South Beach tried to get the most out of their leisure time before all Miami-Dade beaches close for the holiday weekend.
“Such a big weekend to be locked down. A lot of people will hurt, but it is what it is,” said Chin.
Earlier on Thursday, 7News cameras captured some social distancing on the sand but considerably less on the water.
This is why, city leaders said, more closures and restrictions are in effect.
“Restaurants must close by midnight with the exception of delivery services, and all liquor stores must be closed by 8 p.m.,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.
County officials also said individuals going to restaurants will have to keep their masks on while seated at their table, removing the face covering only to eat and drink. The order states, “If you are waiting for your meal at a restaurant table, keep your mask on while having a conversation with those around you.”
Those dining out were previously allowed to take the mask off once seated at the table.
Brian Morris, who is visiting from Iowa, said he is disappointed by the closures.
“One of the main reasons why we came down here was to be on the beach,” he said. “This is my first time seeing stuff like this. I never really had opportunities like this before, and now I hear that it’s closing. It’s terrible.”
Beaches in Broward County will also remain closed for the holiday weekend starting Friday.
“We will have police officers stationed, just like we did during the the initial shutdown in March,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis. “We closed our beaches March 15th to spring breakers, again for the same reasons, again to avoid the cluster gathering of individuals.”
Gimenez, meanwhile, issued a reminder that gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.
City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez stressed that residents should adhere to this safety guideline.
“We are urging people not to congregate. We cancelled our Fourth of July fireworks show so people are not tempted to congregate,” he said.
Gimenez reminded the public to wear masks and practice social distancing of at least 6 feet.
“I do not want to go back to closing all but essential businesses, but the only way to avoid that is for everyone to take COVID-19 seriously. That means every generation – everyone of us, no exceptions,” Gimenez said in the statement.
For a list of Fourth of July parades and other celebrations, including virtual firework displays, click here.
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