The Miami-Dade hotel industry is shutting down, grinding one of the premier vacation destinations on the planet effectively to a halt.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez made the announcement in a statement Friday.
Giménez explained the move in a joint statement with Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber as a means of helping stop the spread of the novel coronavirus inside the country. Gelber says his city will also implement a curfew.
“These are extraordinarily difficult times,” Giménez said.
“As we continue to combat the spread of this virus in Miami-Dade County, we are making daily decisions based on the evolving recommendations of health experts. I am ordering the closure of all hotels, commercial lodging establishments and short-term rentals in Miami-Dade County and fully support the decision by Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber and City Manager Jimmy Morales to close hotels and all other commercial lodging establishments on Miami Beach.
“We must not rule out any measures that will stem the spread of COVID-19 and protect our residents.”
As of a Friday evening update, Miami-Dade County had 123 identified cases of the virus, second only to Broward’s 128. Miami-Dade had already ordered many nonessential businesses to close. But Friday’s decision takes it up another notch, as one of the top travel spots in the world is essentially telling visitors they are no longer welcome.
Gelber says the decision will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Monday night. The hotels will be shut down and guests will be required to leave.
“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,” Gelber added.
“Attracting visitors and tourists is just utterly incompatible with social distancing. For the many amazing operators and employees who are impacted and the families that rely upon them, 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 Giménez, our City Manager Jimmy Morales and after input from all of our Miami Beach City Commissioners.”
The Miami Beach curfew will begin at midnight Monday and run through 5 a.m. Tuesday. It is in effect “until further notice.”
The move comes after Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday that all Florida restaurants that seat more than 10 people were closed to dine-in service.
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.
But 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.