FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Many residents returned to Broward County’s beaches Monday, as they reopened after a shutdown over the holiday weekend.
But there’s a cloud hanging over all that sunshine. With coronavirus cases setting record numbers over the weekend, Broward might be looking at shutting down gyms and on-site dining at restaurants, as Miami-Dade is putting into effect Wednesday.
Those decisions hadn’t been made as mayors from Broward’s cities left a meeting Monday evening, but there’s a sense that a new emergency order could come in the next day or so.
“I think it’s very likely for gyms, for restaurants [to close],” Broward Mayor Dale Holness said following that meeting. “It might not happen now, but unless we see a reduction in the numbers, it might happen in the future.”
Some residents were still frustrated that the beaches were closed through the Fourth of July weekend, saying the beach wasn’t the problem. And residents are also frustrated the numbers keep climbing and we don’t seem to have a grip on it.
“It’s been three, four months of this and we’re seeing the same,” said Diana Latta, who was at the beach Monday. “If people just don’t keep their distance, this is not going to go away.”
Added beachgoer Sally Landis: “I’m not for closing the beaches, because it’s an open area. But as far as the restaurants and bars, that could possibly be a good idea.”
Broward County reported 617 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday morning, raising the county’s total to 21,856 cases.
Before that, Broward had set a single-day record for new cases three days in a row, peaking at 1,664 new cases Sunday.
The closures are hurting local businesses, though.
Liline Dadon Levine has been volunteering at the Stylein shop on Fort Lauderdale beach, where she’s worked for several years. The owner had to cut back on staffing, but Levine decided to help and wait for her job.
“Right now, I’m not working. I’m on unemployment,” she said. “But I’m here to volunteer.”