Governor shuts down beaches and several nonessential businesses in Broward, Palm Beach
Five University of Tampa students on spring break have tested positive for COVID-19.

Florida beaches coronavirus
The Governor's Executive Order closes all move theaters, bowling alleys and other social spots.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is issuing an Executive Order shutting down all beaches in Broward and Palm Beach counties after Miami-Dade made the same move Thursday.

That shutdown, prompted by the spread of the COVID-19 virus, will last at least until March 31.

But the EO is even more expansive, shutting down several nonessential businesses in Broward and Palm Beach as well.

According to a statement from the Governor’s office, DeSantis is “directing all movie theatres, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys, arcades, gymnasiums, fitness studios and beaches to close in Broward County and Palm Beach County. These closures shall remain in effect in accordance with the President’s ’15 Days to Slow the Spread’, initiated on March 16, 2020.”

That guidance from Trump urged people not to gather in groups of more than 10 people.

The Governor’s closures “shall expire on March 31, 2020 but may be renewed upon the written request of the County Administrator. The Broward County and Palm Beach County Administrators will also have the ability to enforce, relax, modify or remove these closures as they see fit.”

DeSantis is also mandating that in-person service be stopped at establishments in Broward and Palm Beach seating more than 10 people. Delivery service is still allowed.

That portion of the EO covers “all restaurants, bars, pubs, night clubs, banquet halls, cabarets, breweries, cafeterias and any other alcohol and/or food service business establishment.”

Earlier this week, DeSantis had shut down bars, but had allowed restaurants across the state to remain operating at 50% capacity. That’s no longer so in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Miami-Dade County had already shut down bars, restaurants, theaters and other businesses Tuesday.

Several individual Broward County beaches had already shut down. South Florida has remained a hotspot for the virus in Florida, with Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach placing first, second and third in terms of positive coronavirus cases in the state.

In a separate Executive Order Friday, DeSantis suspended laws requiring local governments to meet in person.

The death rate for those who test positive for the virus has sat above 3%. However, those calculations do not include individuals who may have contracted the virus, but are asymptomatic and thus survive without incident. Including those individuals would lower the death rate, but it’s unclear how many such individuals there are worldwide.

Most who do show symptoms develop a fever or cough and may have trouble breathing, though they do recover. But older individuals and those with underlying health risks are susceptible to developing more severe symptoms.

The lack of available testing has led to a dearth of information regarding who is carrying the virus, forcing the state and federal government to institute widespread warnings and closures to limit interaction among all individuals as a precaution.

While younger individuals and those without health problems are unlikely to suffer serious symptoms or death due to the virus, concerns about the elderly and immune compromised has led to that drastic reduction of public events.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


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