LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA, Fla. – In Broward County, leaders say it was necessary to close beaches for the upcoming July 4 weekend, particularly with surrounding counties making that decision.
“We know if we stay open, we’ll have a crowd here,” Broward Mayor Dale Holness said.
So, popular beaches like Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea will all be closed from Friday at midnight through Sunday.
Mayors from nearly every coastal city insist they’re trying to strike a balance, though.
“Our restaurants and our businesses will be open on the Fourth of July,” Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Mayor Chris Vincent said.
Added Pompano Beach Mayor Rex Hardin: “Our city is open for business. Unfortunately, we have to take this step with the beaches.”
For business owners like Spiro Marchalos who rely on beachgoers, that’s a tough pill to swallow. He’s been through enough already.
“Here we go again,” said the owner of Anglin’s Beach Cafe in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. “Because we were closed prior for about three months. ... Very difficult.”
At Anglin’s, social distancing is a priority. Tables spaced out on the pier will stay open. Marchalos says he knows the show must go on, and local business owners have just got to make this work, even though they don’t expect the same number of customers around.
“Whether one person comes, or 20 people come, we’ll be giving good service and helping the people have a good Fourth of July,” he said. “We can still have a celebration as long as people stay social distanced and follow the rules. ... Life will come back to normal, and we’re blessed. It could be worse.”
The beach shutdown comes as Broward County on Monday passed 15,000 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.