This Major City Is Locking Down Again as Coronavirus Surges
The mayor of Miami-Dade County just ordered all restaurants, gyms, and party venues to close.
The drastic uptick in COVID-19 cases across the U.S. has sounded alarms in many states. And one southern state that's been named as a danger zone time and time again is Florida. While the governor of Florida decided to close bars and shut down beaches ahead of the July 4th weekend, local officials that had previously paused their reopenings are now rolling back on their plans in order to help keep the virus at bay. And as of July 6, that list includes Miami, which is locking down again by closing businesses as coronavirus surges.
According to a statement released by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, an uptick in hospitalizations and positive COVID-19 tests led to the drastic rollback. "I am signing an emergency order that will close restaurants (except for takeout and delivery services), along with ballrooms, banquet facilities, party venues, gyms and fitness centers, and short-term rentals," he said.
Gimenez noted that office buildings, retail stores, grooming services, condominium and hotel pools, summer camps, and child daycare centers can continue to operate "with strict social distancing and masks rules." He added that beaches will open on July 7, but warned, "If we see crowding and people not following the public health rules, I will be forced to close the beaches again."
All businesses that are expected to shutter their doors again must do so by Wednesday, July 8 in order "to ensure that [Miami-Dade County's] hospitals continue to have the staffing necessary to save lives."
Gimenez's announcement of new closures also comes on the heels of county officials' decision to institute a nightly curfew. The orders, which went into effect on July 3, prohibits non-essential employees from leaving their homes between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Small business owners in the area reopened their doors on May 16, but in mid-June, Miami officials announced that they were pausing the city's reopening and not entering the third phase. Then, on June 25, they began mandating mask use in public as cases surged.
Florida set a record for a single-day high of new cases on July 4 with nearly 11,500, according to data from The New York Times. So far the state has seen at least 206,500 cases of the virus and as of Monday afternoon, nearly 3,800 people had died. Miami-Dade County's coronavirus cases have been the highest in the state, with nearly 49,000 cases and 1,050 deaths.
Florida has seen such a drastic increase in COVID-19 since its initial reopening in mid-May that some experts have gone so far as to call it "the next large epicenter" of the pandemic.
Miami-Dade County officials are hoping that the rollback and the following of basic health guidelines will help slow the spread of the coronavirus. "We can tamp down the spread if everyone follows the rules, wears masks, and stays at least six feet apart from others," Gimenez said in his official statement. "I am counting on you, our 2.8 million residents, to stop the spread so that we can get back to opening our economy." And for more new COVID-19 pandemic epicenters, check out These Are the 4 New Epicenters of the Pandemic, Former FDA Chief Says.