MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A normally bustling Ocean Drive was eerily quiet Saturday night thanks to a new curfew in place aimed at trying to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The countywide curfew of 10 p.m. has been changed to 8 p.m. along South Beach’s entertainment district. The move affects businesses and restaurants along Ocean Drive, Collins and Washington avenues between 5th and 16 streets.
Miami Beach police officers were out patrolling the streets to make sure people are respecting the new early curfew.
“Our main objective is to get the pedestrians off the roadways and back to their hotels to ensure this entertainment district meets this new curfew,” said Miami Beach Police Officer Ernesto Rodriguez. “We’ve surprisingly seen a lot of quick compliance with the folks.”
Restaurants now have to stop serving outdoor diners promptly at 8 p.m. but are allowed to keep their kitchens open for delivery orders.
In the meantime, a new emergency order is in place in Broward County with a curfew there too, which went into effect Friday night
“The curfew is critical,” said Broward County Mayor Dale Holness. “What we are finding is the parties are happening overnight and that’s a big place where the spread is.”
Besides the nightly 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, the emergency order also limits private gatherings to 10 people, forces diners to order and be served only at their table in restaurants, makes masks mandatory at all times inside of gyms, and vacation rentals without on-site owners or managers there to enforce the rules are banned, beginning Monday July 20.
Holness is hoping these additional measures will bring the infection rates down, but warns more will be done if he doesn’t see a change.
"We have to watch the data, look at the science, look at where we are with hospitalizations and look at how people are complying and then we make a decision from there," he said.
Holness said if the county needs to get stricter, it will. That all depends on where we stand with the numbers.