MIAMI, Fla. - Beaches in Miami-Dade County will close for the July Fourth weekend-- less than a month after reopening-- and gatherings of 50 or more will be prohibited due to recent surges in coronavirus cases.
County Mayor Carlos Gimenez will sign an emergency order to close beaches starting Friday, July 3, and ending Tuesday, July 7, his office announced Friday.
Gimenez said the move was necessary and "prudent" and reiterated that masks are required inside businesses and outside when social distancing isn't possible.
Violaters could face a second-degree criminal penalty of up to $500 and 180 days in jail, the county mayor said.
"I have been seeing too many businesses and people ignoring these lifesaving rules," Giminez said in a statement. "If people are not going to be responsible and protect themselves and others from this pandemic, then the government is forced to step in and restore common sense to save lives."
Miami-Dade County reported 1,330 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. The previous day's spike marked the highest single-day case total since the pandemic hit. The county is currently battling 31,526 cases of coronavirus and has the highest death toll in the state with 947 people dead.
Florida's alarming increase in new cases broke another record on Saturday after the state's health department confirmed 9,585 cases. The number of new cases in the last seven days made up nearly 30 percent of the state's total tally. An additional 24 new deaths were also recorded.
Currently, 132,545 people statewide have been infected with the virus and more than 3,390 people have died.
"Really nothing has changed in the past week in terms of, we had a big test dump, we've been testing, 10 to 15 percent have been testing positive for really the last week. That's a huge change from where we were at the beginning of June when we were basically 3 or 4 percent in terms of the positivity statewide," Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., said on Saturday. "We obviously liked where we were throughout all of May and early June in terms of positivity."
"After all the success we have had tamping down the COVID-19 curve, we cannot turn back and overload our hospitals, putting our doctors and nurses at greater risk with more emergency room cases," Gimenez said.
"Everyone must do their part and follow the rules."
Florida has also walked back other previously lifted restrictions in recent days, including banning alcohol consumption in bars as Desantis admitted earlier this week that the transmission of COVID-19 is being driven by a younger demographic of 18-35-year-old people.