Broward County is now joining its neighbor to the south in shutting down beaches during July 4 weekend due to concerns about COVID-19.
The trend over the last few weeks has been troubling both statewide and in South Florida, which has played home to the most serious impact of the outbreak.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez announced Friday the county would close beaches during the holiday as the recent rise in cases seems largely driven by large gatherings of younger Floridians.
“After consulting with our County’s public health experts, I will be signing an emergency order on Saturday to close all beaches in Miami-Dade County starting Friday, July 3, and ending Tuesday, July 7,” Giménez said. He also threatened to lengthen that order if the need arises.
Broward’s order will be briefer, running from Friday, July 3 to Sunday, July 5. The goal is the same: stop citizens from violating social distancing guidelines enacted due to the crisis. City officials have also been cracking down, shutting down businesses which shirk those regulations.
Palm Beach County officials are also considering whether to follow their cohorts in the South Florida tri-county area and shut down beaches as well. Officials in the three counties have tried to act in concert where possible to prevent residents from one county flooding another due to laxer regulations.
“The beaches will be overrun because Miami-Dade is closing their beaches,” noted Broward County Mayor Dale Holness in announcing his county’s move Sunday.
“We don’t like taking away the freedom of people to go to the beach. But if we don’t do this, we are going to lose lives.”
Sunday’s statewide COVID-19 report saw fewer new cases than the previous two days. However, the newest total of 8,530 is still the third highest daily total ever, trailing Friday’s and Saturday’s reports.
While the statewide number went down, South Florida’s day-to-day trends were mixed. Broward had fewer new cases Sunday than in Saturday’s report. However, the positivity rate — the share of tests which came back positive — went up.
Both of those numbers dipped in Palm Beach County, but both rose in Miami-Dade, with more than 2,100 new cases listed there in Sunday’s report alone.
Despite the varying day-to-day shifts — which can be volatile — the week-to-week numbers in all three counties show cases are on the rise.