FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Empty beaches and surrounding shops and areas were a common scene on Saturday in Fort Lauderdale, despite the Fourth of July holiday.
It's a much different look than in past years, with no feet in the sand and no swimmers in the ocean.
The changes are due to new rules and closures across the county as South Florida continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have closed the beaches, unfortunately, because we have to look out for the well-being of all of our people in Broward County,” said Broward Mayor Dale Holness.
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Resident Dan Bauman said he understands why the beaches are closed, but he told Local 10 he doesn’t agree with it. More than a dozen protesters felt the same way, taking to the sand as police monitored them from a distance late Saturday afternoon.
While many cities canceled their fireworks shows this year, the city of Fort Lauderdale did go on with show, actually four of them— but in a different way. Usually on the sand and under the stars for a big display with crowds coming out to Fort Lauderdale beach, this year, with COVID-19 restrictions in place, residents were encouraged to watch from their homes, balconies or from their cars. One fireworks display was outside of the Beach Community Center near A1A and Oakland Park Boulevard, where people did step outside, some from inside restaurants, to get a better look.
Three other shows were at City Hall on North Andrews Avenue, in Holiday Park and also in Carter Park.
In the city of Margate, instead of residents coming out to their annual Fourth of July parade along Margate Boulevard, festively decorated city vehicles traveled through neighborhoods, taking the parade to them.
"Today we are going to have to treat each other as if one of us have the virus or both of us do, by wearing our facial coverings that is a very important step," Holness said. "Social distancing ad washing our hands."
The beaches throughout Broward County will remain closed through the weekend.