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Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale closing beaches, limiting hours at restaurants due to COVID-19 outbreak

Curfew going into effect in Miami Beach entertainment district

A joint press conference was held with two South Florida cities that see massive spring break crowds every year.

The Cities of Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale addressed the public regarding new measures taken due large spring break crowds and ongoing concerns over COVID-19 outbreak.

There was a lot of information disseminated at the press conference.

The new orders being put in place in Fort Lauderdale are a closing of the beach from Harbor Beach to Oakland Park Boulevard, meaning no one is permitted on the sand.

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Restaurants and bars must close by 10 p.m. and are asked to operate at 50% capacity and have no more than 250 people at any time.

These measures will last until April 12.

“I want to be clear, this isn’t an overreaction, but a way to stop further cases of COVID-19 in our community,” Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantails said. “We must all do our part to save the lives of our residents, visitors and first responders.”

The Tortuga Music Festival, which was set to run from April 17-19, has been postponed, and the Wharf Fort Lauderdale is closing until further notice.

In Miami Beach, officials are closing the beach from 5th to 15th Street, including Lummus Park, beginning Monday.

All city parking garages will be closed to non-residents.

In addition, all non-essential retail stores will be required to close at 10 p.m. daily.

Businesses excluded from this directive include pharmacies, grocery stores, convenience stores, private offices, banks, hotels, hospitals, medical service providers, medical supply stores, hardware stores, gasoline service stations and automotive supply and repair centers.

An entertainment district curfew will also go into effect at 11 p.m.

“It simply can’t be business as usual in our City,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan 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 cancelled 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.”

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As in Fort Lauderdale, all restaurants are asked to keep occupancy at 50% or less, and have under 250 people in each establishment at any given time.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel,” Trantails said. “Right now we’re taking this initiative for the next 30 days to see how much progress we can make in defeating this disease, and reevaluate at that time.”

The full press conference can be seen below:

Miami Beach / Fort Lauderdale presser on COVID-19 and spring break

WATCH LIVE: Joint press conference with Cities of Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale to discuss large spring break crowds and the COVID-19 outbreak.

Posted by WPLG Local 10 on Sunday, March 15, 2020