Heedless behavior threatens rise in coronavirus cases in South Florida

MIAMI – Before the coronavirus pandemic, Memorial Day, July Fourth and Labor Day weekends were opportunities to socialize by the pool and the beach in South Florida.

Now the three-day weekend comes as Broward County’s coronavirus testing positivity rate is under 5% and Miami-Dade’s positivity rate is hovering at about 7%.

In hope of keeping it this way, officers will be enforcing social distancing and face coverings at public beaches, restaurants and at popular tourist attractions.

“We don’t want a repeat of Memorial Day where we got complacent,” Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said. “There were parties, big gatherings, people were not following the rules.”

On Friday, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington projected there will be an outbreak that will peak in early December. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, cautioned this weekend is critical, but having fun is still possible.

“I would rather see someone on a beach, being physically separated enough, than someone crowded in an indoor bar,” Fauci told The Associated Press.

Local leaders know face mask mandates and policies that promote social distancing can save lives.

Gimenez said the 10 p.m. curfew, fines and other rules will remain in effect. Browad Sheriff Gregory Tony said deputies and code enforcement officers will be out enforcing the preventive measures.

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation officers warned they will also be enforcing safety measures in the water.

About the Authors: