MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – The 8 p.m. curfew for Miami Beach's famed entertainment district is now in effect.
The party is over and police will be issuing fines to those not following COVID-19 restrictions.
- Ocean Drive between from 5 Street to 15 Street will be closed to all vehicular traffic at all times.
- Parking will be prohibited in the area bounded by 5 Street on the south, 15 Street on the north, Ocean Drive on the east, and Collins Avenue on the west.
- All businesses within the Entertainment District, excluding some side streets, must be closed by 8 p.m. daily.
- All restaurants, cafeterias and food service establishments within the Entertainment District, must be closed by 8 p.m. daily. However, these businesses can keep their kitchens open for delivery services only. Take out, pick up, or curb side pick up is not allowed between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- No loud music is allowed and all live entertainment is prohibited.
These new restrictions are being imposed due to large gatherings of young people on Ocean Drive and across South Beach amid a rising number of coronavirus cases.
The restrictions extaned to Washington Avenue, officials announced.
South Beach is normally the life of the party — but now — that's not the plan.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said he sees people not wearing masks and hanging out in groups, all things that are against the COVID 19 regulations.
"There has been some adherence to the mask rules, not nearly enough. At some points, it was resembling a bit of a party, an outdoor party. We can't have anything resembling Bourbon Street right now in our community," said Gelber.
Beginning this weekend, expect 20 additional Miami Beach police officers on the street — along with more than a dozen officers from Miami-Dade. Park rangers and code enforcement are out too. The idea is to educate people about the rules and if that doesn't work — get tougher.
"But I think we're going to have to go to that next if we just aren't getting significant compliance and actually give people a ticket, a 50 dollar ticket for not wearing a mask," said Gelber.
"We came from Bogalusa, Louisiana. It's my birthday!" said Richelle Short.
Short and her friends were hoping for a fun birthday weekend, but are well aware of the rules and curfew and that's OK with them.
"It's all for safety and I don't want to bring anything back to my family," said Short.
Aleisha knew exactly what to expect when she and her friends arrived From Pittsburgh.
"We're still having a good time. Hospitality is great. The weather's beautiful, the beach is beautiful except for that seaweed out there, I don't like that. Everything else has been awesome," she said
And for those who don't understand why they can't just do as they please and keep the party going, the mayor has a reminder.
"The virus is spreading in our community wildly. It just is. We have over 240 people on ventilators, that's well over the high mark of a few months ago, we've got over 2000 people in the hospital and over 400 in intensive care. So this is a very serious thing," said Gelber
The bottom line, follow the rules, wear your mask, social distance, do not be in large crowds, obey the curfew, and the mayor says you should not have any problems.
In the City of Miami, Mayor Francis Suarez said Friday afternoon that the time for warnings is over. Those not wearing masks in his city will face fines.
The mayor gave his remarks during a press conference in Coconut Grove.
Suarez also announced that there will be no stay-at-home order.
He also said starting Monday, there will no longer be a warning for not wearing a mask in public. He mentioned 29 warnings had been issued to date.
Mayor Suarez announced the fine for not wearing a mask starts at $50. It goes up to $150 for a second offense and then $500 for a third offense.
The city has handed out 5,000 face masks to people in the last few weeks.
The mayor says at one point, the city was seeing about 125 additional cases a day, but that's down to about 50 new cases a day.
Leaders feared 18-to-34-year-olds were going out and then contracting the virus and then their families were impacted.
The city has inspected roughly 42,000 businesses. Ten were shut down within the last two weeks.
The mayor talked to business owners on Friday and he explained why there will be no stay-at-home order.
"Business owners can sometimes weather certain storms. They have the ability, but the employees may not be able to and there are not many safety nets (federal) and some did express concerns for their employees. There are not a lot of safety nets. There's no PPE, there's not an extension of unemployment," said Suarez.
The mayor also said about 100 Miami police officers were impacted by
COVID-19. The officers are not working because they are either positive or waiting for test results.
Florida International University Infectious Diseases Specialist, Doctor Aileen Marty says tougher restrictions should not be off the table.
"We're hoping against hope that people are getting the message, that they're changing their behavior," she told CBS News Friday. "If we don't see that by Monday, Tuesday then yeah, it's possible that we may have to enact further measures."
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