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Coronavirus Fear Prompts Closure Of Miami-Dade Beaches, Parks, Non-Essential Businesses

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Seeking to stem the spread of COVID-19, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has closed the county's beaches, parks, and recreational facilities.

This order applies to both publicly-owned and privately-owned parks, beaches and recreational facilities

But it doesn't end there.

In his executive order, all non-essential retail and commercial establishments will close by  9 p.m. Thursday. Also closed are all recreational facilities in the incorporated and unincorporated areas of Miami-Dade County.

"Along with an extension of the declaration of emergency, this comprehensive order will facilitate compliance by the residents, visitors and business owners in Miami-Dade County. These actions are necessary to keep our community safe from the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring the continuity of essential services," according to a statement from Gimenez.

In a video released Thursday, the mayor recited a laundry list of businesses to be closed. Among them he said were "Shops, beauty salons, spas, nail studios, sporting goods stores, book stores, jewelry stores, and malls and boutiques and toy stores and social clubs, tennis clubs and golf courses. We are closing more businesses because of the stricter recommendations from the CDC in terms of preventing the spread of COVID-19 cases."

"This also includes all casinos including Calder, Magic City, Hialeah Park and we have reached out to the Miccosukee tribe because we do have jurisdiction over the tribe," said Gimenez. "It's during difficult times that our community shines. I realize these orders can be overwhelming for people but they are necessary. We have to practice safe hygiene methods to stop spread of the COVID-19."

"So far," he said, "Miami-Dade has 72 confirmed cases."

Read: Miami-Dade Mayor Executive Order

In keeping with the executive order to close all non-essential recreational facilities, Zoo Miami is now closed until further notice. Essential staff will continue to report to work to ensure that all of the animals are taken care of.

Late Thursday night, Mayor Gimenez signed an addendum to clarify some of the essential retail and commercial businesses that may remain open.

They include:

  • Hotels, motels and other commercial lodging establishments and temporary vacation rentals. However, restaurants, bars and fitness centers in hotels, motels and other lodging establishments remain closed or restricted.
  • Automobile dealerships, as long as those businesses ensure that customers practice social distancing of six feet, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Any residence halls at universities, colleges or technical colleges, if these facilities are needed to accommodate students who cannot return to their homes.
  • Mortuaries, funeral homes and cemeteries.
  • Private and municipal marinas and boat launches, docking, fueling, marine supply and other marina services.
  • Veterinarians and pet boarding facilities.

Kelly Mims, the store manager at Elite Mode in Wynwood, said she was shocked when she heard they were going to have to close.

"I love working and I like going to my job and making money," she said.

Mims said she understood why the mayor ordered the closures.

"I realize that these steps have to be done to keep everyone safe and do what has to be done," she said.

As for what she'll do.

"I'm going to go home and hang out with my dog. It's important that there's not be spread around," she said.

Mims said she thinks we'll get through this.

"Yes I do, You have to hit rock bottom before you go back up to the top," she said.

Other business owners agree that shutdown down is the right thing to do.

"This is not like a matter to be joking about," said Kaven Barreto, owner of MGS Jewels. "This is something that is serious. People like if they tell you to shut down, you shut down your store and go home."

Barreto said he's compelled to follow the mayor's emergency order. He said he'll shut down the jewelry store he's run for 10 years on Flagler Street in downtown Miami.

"I feel like it's good. People are not taking it seriously enough. Especially when some businesses say oh, keep open and deal with it but people's safety should be first," he said.

Barreto said he has a plan.

"Trying to work from home. Trying to make the most of this and doing what we can," he said.

While restaurants like Enriqueta's Sandwich Shop are continuing to remain open for pick-up service, the owners are also dealing with challenges and hardships after having to lay off some workers.

Giancarlo Morera said "It's very hard. Many more people come here for dining than at the window. So it hits us really hard. At this point, we have to follow the law and we have to do what we can so we don't spread the virus at all. We are trying hard but this is difficult. We hope we are doing what we can to help the community."

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Broward Mayor Dale Holness has not closed the county's beaches. However, some cities in Broward including Fort Lauderdale, Dania Beach, Hallandale Beach, and Hollywood Beach have closed their beaches.

On Thursday, Broward County Parks in collaboration with the City of Hollywood has closed the following parks to help restrict access to Hollywood Beach.

  • Carpenter House/Marine Environmental Education Center, 4414 Surf Rd.
  • Green Park, 4400 N. Ocean Drive.
  • Hawksbill Park, 5200 N. Ocean Drive.
  • Kemp's Ridley Park, 4918 N. Ocean Drive.
  • Leatherback Park, 4398 N. Ocean Drive.
  • Loggerhead Park, 4008 N. Ocean Drive.

Governor Ron DeSantis has not issued an order closing all of Florida's beaches.

College students on spring break have flocked to them up and down the coasts, despite the growing number of people infected with and dying from the coronavirus.

"Unfortunately this coincided with spring break which made it more complicated. I think the hardest thing we're dealing with here is we're a highly individualistic society," said Senator Marco Rubio.

In an interview with CNN on Thursday morning, Senator. Rick Scott urged people to stay away from his state's beaches and heed social distancing recommendations.

"Get off beach, I mean unless you can figure out how to be completely isolated from anyone else," said Scott.

"Don't take a chance that you're going to be the one to cause your grandparent or your parents or another friend from school to get sick," he added.


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