MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – At a joint press conference Sunday, the mayors of Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale announced a number of coronavirus response measures to curb the excessive crowds gathering for spring break.
“If we are to continue to take this matter seriously and to try and flatten the curve of the spread of the coronavirus, we have to take bold yet responsible measures to limit large gathers,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, who was the first to list his city’s measures.
Fort Lauderdale’s restrictions, which start March 15 and will last until April 12, are as follows:
- Beach closed from Harbor Dr. to Oakland Park Blvd.
- Restaurants, nightclubs, and bars ordered to close by 10 p.m.
- Restaurants, nightclubs, and bars cannot operate at more than 50% capacity
- Public gatherings of any type with over 250 people are prohibited.
- All significant events during this period of time are postponed
- All City recreational facilities are closed.
“We have to do everything possible to minimize crowds and unfortunately, our beautiful beaches must be part of that plan,” said Trantalis. “I want to be clear that this is not an overreaction, but a way for us to help stop further cases of COVID-19 in our community. We must all do our part to save lives. This includes protecting our residents, visitors, and our first responders.”
WATCH: Mayor Trantalis & Mayor Gelber Full Joint Press Conference
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber followed up, announcing the following changes to his city:
- Beach closed from 5th to 15th St.
- Lummus Park closed
- Parking garage and surface lots closed (except for residents)
- All non-essential retail closed by 10 p.m.
- An 11 p.m. curfew in the entertainment district
- Restaurants and bars cannot operate at more than 50% capacity
“It simply can’t be business as usual in our city,” said Gelber. “COVID-19 is a threat as much here as anywhere. We simply cannot endure these kinds of gatherings and crowds. Our measures are intended to send a clear message that spring break is canceled and that everyone, even young people home from school, need to embrace these health and safety concerns. We are proud of our hospitality industry, and concerned with the toll it will have on our businesses and workers but we cannot elevate those concerns above very real health risks.”
As for how long Miami Beach’s restrictions will last, City Manager Jimmy Morales said he can only implement the restrictions for seven days at a time.
However, Morales said he will be asking for extensions with the intention of these measures lasting for 30 days.
“The message has to be clear… the party is over,” Gelber said.
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