Restrictions Placed on Bars, Restaurants and Beaches to Help Stop COVID-19 Spread

Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale officials announce expanded measures being implemented for spring break crowds

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The mayors of Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale announced new beach closures and restrictions on bars and restaurants in response to large spring break crowds and to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

At a news joint news conference Sunday with Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said the beach would be closing from 5th Street to 15th Street, and there would be an 11 p.m. curfew in the entertainment district.

"We can't have the kinds of crowds we've had, the kinds of gatherings," Gelber said. "I walked down Ocean Drive yesterday and what I saw was incredibly disturbing, it wasn't just the typical large gatherings of people, but it was young people who believe they're invincible and probably don't really think of this in any way as a health crisis."

Starting Tuesday, all sidewalk cafes will be required to either reduce their capacity by 50% or to a maximum of 50 people, whichever is less, the city announced Monday. Restaurant kitchen may continue to operate until midnight each day for food delivery only.

Gelber said the city was also closing Lummus Park, as well as all parking garages and parking lots, except to residents.

In addition, all non-essential retail stores must close by 10 p.m., Gelber said. The measures were expected to be in effect until March 19, but there will likely be extensions.

In Fort Lauderdale, Trantalis said the dry portion of the public beach would be closed from Harbor Drive to north of Oakland Park Boulevard through April 12.

Fort Lauderdale is also requiring all bars and restaurants to close by 10 p.m. Both Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale will require bars and restaurants to operate at 50 percent capacity.

"This is not forever, we're gonna defeat this disease, there is light at the end of the tunnel," Trantalis said.

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