Beach closures met with disappointment by South Beach tourists amid record COVID-19 cases

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Some South Florida visitors were not pleased to find beaches that would normally be packed on the Fourth of July closed for the holiday weekend, as the state reached a grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic.

Tourists in South Beach did not hide their disappointment over not being able to enjoy the sand and water like they had planned.

“I came here from Texas. I was trying to have some fun at the beach, and they’re closed, man,” said visitor Wistler Brave.

Sakendra Paulk, who is visiting from Georgia with friends, said they were disappointed to learn they weren’t allowed on the South Beach sand.

“It’s very weird, because people are here all day, every day, every season,” she said. “It doesn’t matter. South Beach is the place to be.”

Due to the surge in coronavirus cases, beaches in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties will all remain closed for the holiday weekend.

“I saw everything roped off around here. It was bizarre, really,” said a man near Ocean Drive.

The closures come as the Florida Department of Health, reported another record rise in coronavirus cases in the Sunshine State, with 11,458 new reported infections in the past 24 hours.

Of those new cases, 2,418 of them are in Miami-Dade County, 1,348 in Broward and 15 in Monroe.

In an effort to help contain the spread, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez also implemented a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

A countywide mask mandate remains in effect as well. It requires people to wear face coverings in all public spaces, indoors or outside, regardless of social distancing.

Fireworks shows throughout the region were cancelled, but some municipalities made major changes to allow for socially distant spectating.

In Miami Gardens, the mayor and vice mayor hosted a drive-in show at the Hard Rock Stadium. People were able to watch the display from their cars.

Miami Beach, meanwhile, held a virtual fireworks show. People could watch on TV or the city’s Facebook page.

While things look a little different this year, revelers who spoke with 7News said they’re trying to still enjoy the holiday while making sure to stay safe.

“I’m just going to walk around and take pictures, I guess,” said Brave.

“Fourth of July is that time that America comes together, and nobody’s together because of the COVID and the pandemic,” said Paulk.

“Of course, stay safe. That’s the main thing, but have a good time,” said the man near Ocean Drive.

In Miami Beach, liquor stores were required to stop selling liquor by 8 p.m.

For a list of Fourth of July celebrations, click here.

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