As coronavirus cases spike across the country, several localities are closing areas where people may be tempted to gather in large crowds for the Fourth of July weekend.
Several counties in South Florida, including Miami-Dade, and Los Angeles County in California are closing their beaches for the holiday weekend as part of an effort to get control over COVID-19 infection rates.
Additionally, Texas’ Bexar county, which includes the city of San Antonio, will close its parks for the holiday weekend starting Friday, Judge Nelson Wolff said in a press conference Wednesday. Trails will still be open, he added.
In California, Los Angeles County reported 2,903 new cases Monday, the highest single-day total since the pandemic began. There were an additional 2,002 new cases reported Wednesday, and 35 deaths..
The Florida Department of Health reported 5,266 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 Monday, the sixth consecutive day in which at least 5,000 new cases have been announced, and 28 more deaths, according to Florida Today, part of the USA TODAY network.
The state now has more than 146,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 3,400 deaths. The cases have more than doubled since Florida entered Phase 2 of its reopening plan on June 5.
“Caution was thrown to the wind and so we are where we are,” Gov. Ron DeSantis remarked during a press conference Sunday.
Here’s what you need to know about weekend beach closures:
Beach closure dates:12:01 a.m. PST, Friday, July 3, to 5 a.m., Monday, July 6
After reporting a sharp spike in new COVID-19 cases, the county announced late Monday that it would close not only its fabled beaches during the holiday, but piers, parking lots and bike paths.
Fireworks will also be banned.
“Closing the beaches and prohibiting fireworks displays during this important summer holiday weekend was an incredibly difficult decision to make, but it’s the responsible decision to protect public health and protect our residents from a deadly virus,” said Barbara Ferrer, the county health director in a statement.
Beach closure dates: 12:01 a.m. EDT, Friday, July 3 to 11:59 p.m. Monday, July 6
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez announced Friday that he was closing his county’s coastline, which includes Miami Beach, South Beach and Sunny Isles. The closure will be in effect from Friday, July 3, through Monday night, July 6, the order states.
There will also be a ban on gatherings over 50 people, including parades and protests. County parks will close at 8 p.m. EDT during that period and fireworks displays must be viewed from home or a parked car.
Gimenez warned that county police will be out “in force” over the weekend shutting down establishments that refuse to obey Miami-Dade’s social-distancing and mask policies. “Violators face a second-degree criminal penalty of up to $500 and 180 days in jail,” he added.
Gimenez also cautioned, “The closure may be extended if conditions do not improve and people do not follow New Normal rules requiring masks to be worn always inside commercial establishments and outdoors when social distancing of at least six feet is not possible.”
Beach closure dates: 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 3, to 11:59 p.m., Sunday, July 5
“In light of the recent increase in positive reported cases of COVID-19
within our County and the State of Florida, and the upcoming temporary closure of the beaches in Miami-Dade County, the County Administrator finds it necessary to close Broward County beaches for the Fourth of July holiday weekend,” reads the order, issued Monday.
Violators are subject to a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail, though anyone who knowingly commits a “violation that is irreparable or irreversible in nature” could face fines of $1,000 per day or up to $15,000 per incident.
Fort Lauderdale had already taken its own action one day earlier.
“The sand will be closed for visitors, tourists and locals from Friday, July 3, through Sunday, July 5,” Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis announced Sunday during a press conference.
“Everyone should be able to come our beaches and enjoy the beautiful sun and water and all the beautiful things we have here in Broward County but unfortunately, during a normal holiday weekend, it’s very difficult for us to enforce all the required CDC protocols. We’re working together with all the beaches in Broward County, all the mayors of the coastal beaches. It’s important to understand that we’re all working together to keep our environment safe.”
Trantalis added that businesses would remain open (though the state will only allow stand-alone bars to sell alcoholic drinks to go) and that the county may close down one lane of the A1A highway to allow people to walk near the beach.
Beach closure dates: 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 3, to 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, July 5
Palm Beach County officials said beaches will be closed, but the order allows restaurants and stores within beach parks to remain open.
“Unfortunately, this Fourth of July will not be spent at the beach,” Mayor Dave Kerner told CNN on Sunday.
Beach closure dates: 5 p.m. EDT Thursday, July 2 to Tuesday, July 7
On Monday, Monroe County, which encompasses the Florida Keys, issued a press release saying all public parks and beaches there would close as well, beginning Thursday at 5 p.m. until opening time on Tuesday.
Masks are also required for anyone over the age of 6 in all public settings and businesses in the Florida Keys where there is a roof overhead.
Beach closure hours: 6 p.m. EDT Thursday, July 2, until 7 a.m. Monday, July 6
Includes Hobe Sound Beach near Palm Beach County and Jupiter Island. The county announced a full closure of its public beaches for the holiday weekend.
Beach closure hours: 11 a.m. EDT to 5 p.m. on weekends, including Friday, July 3
Faced with a rapid increase in coronavirus cases and a holiday weekend ahead that some fear could draw out-of-town visitors to the southwest Florida region that includes Naples, Collier County commissioners met Tuesday and passed restrictions on beach hours and parking on weekends.
The Naples Daily News, part of the USA TODAY Network, reported that commissioners voted 3-2 to close beaches from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends, including Friday ahead of the Fourth of July holiday.
Lee County, home to Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Captiva and Sanibel Islandhas decided to keep its beaches open, The Fort Myers News-Press, part of the USA TODAY Network, reported.
County spokeswoman Betsy Clayton said in an email that the county has created signs asking visitors to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and to wear masks in all public areas to prevent the spread of the virus.
Manatee County, which includes Anna Maria Island and Bradenton Beach
Sarasota County, which includes Siesta Beach, Venice Beach, and Turtle Beach
Charlotte County, which includes Englewood and Port Charlotte beaches in Punta Gorda
Lee County, which includes Fort Myers Beach, Captiva and Sanibel Island
Escambia County, which includes Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key and Santa Rosa Island
Santa Rosa County, which includes Navarre, Gulf Breeze and Santa Rosa Beach
Okaloosa County, which includes Fort Walton Beach and Destin beaches (Henderson Beach, James Lee Beach, Princess Beach, Matterhorn, White Point, and some Eglin Air Force off-base beaches)
Walton County on the Emerald Coast, which includes Rosemary Beach, Santa Rosa Beach and Miramar Beach
Bay County, which includes beaches on the Gulf Coast in Northwest Florida, Mexico Beach and Panama City Beach
Gulf County, which includes Mexico Beach, about 25 miles southeast of Panama City
Franklin County, which includes St. George Island, Apalachicola, Carrabelle and Alligator Point
Wakulla County, which includes Wakulla Beach
Taylor County in the Big Bend of Florida, which includes Keaton Beach
Dixie County, which includes Horseshoe Beach, in the Big Bend of Florida
Nassau County, which includes Fernandina Beach, Long Beach, Lido Beach and Atlantic Beach