MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Miami Beach, a mecca that draws tourists, is already feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, from the closures of local businesses and beaches to curfews designed to keep the community safe.
On Friday, the city of Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County took even larger emergency measures by closing all commercial lodging establishments. This means hotels, suite hotels, hotel units within apartment-hotels, hostels, dormitories, motels, and temporary vacation/short term rentals are ordered to shut down operations and tell guests they must leave.
The order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 23.
“Our hotels have always been the lifeblood of our economy, so shuttering them is not something to do impulsively. But right now, as painful as it may be, the reality is we just cannot be a tourist destination,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber in a statement.
Gelber apologized to the operators and employees of the properties.
“We are so sorry that you will feel this most acutely and we will advocate for whatever relief will be available at the state and federal level. These decisions were made collaboratively with County Mayor Gimenez, our City Manager Jimmy Morales and after input from all of our Miami Beach City Commissioners.”
The city has also added the following summary of changes to its State of Emergency Declaration, effective at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 21:
Curfew throughout the city from midnight to 5 a.m., effective Tuesday, March 24, 2020, at midnight, until further notice. (The curfew in the Entertainment District remains in effect until midnight on Monday, March 23, 2020).
Closure of Purdy Boat Ramp at Maurice Gibb Park. Clarification that all other marinas, boat launches, docking, fueling, marine supply and other marina services shall remain open, between the hours of 7 a.m. to sunset only.
The city will strictly enforce the emergency measures and said that anyone in violation would be subject to criminal penalties, according to a statement.
Local 10 News Reporters' notes on COVID-19 response in South Florida