Miami Beach extends coronavirus lockdowns, beaches remain closed

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Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales has extended the State of Emergency declaration, keeping all beaches in the city closed through Mother’s Day.

“Keeping residents and businesses safe is the primary directive in the city’s fight against COVID-19,” the City Manager’s office said in a press release Thursday.

The order has been extended until May 14, and anyone caught violating the restrictions could be subject to “criminal penalties.”

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Florida’s stay-at-home order first went into effect April 3 in the state.

South Florida has emerged as a “hotspot” for coronavirus infections, and Miami-Dade County is seeing the highest rate of confirmed cases in the state — with more than 13,000 cases, according to Florida’s Department of Health.

The beaches will be empty this Mother’s Day, as residents are being told to stay home under the Safer at Home emergency order.

Morales’ announcement follows the closing of a public park Monday after park rangers reported giving more than 7,000 verbal warnings regarding social distancing measures and face mask protocols, according to the Miami Beach Police Department. The park had been open for just five days.

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Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, said this week that plans are being made to slowly start pushing South Florida toward reopening.

“We need to start opening up this area of the state, as the governor has started opening up other areas in the state of Florida,” Gimenez said speaking at a press conference Wednesday.

The rest of the state began phase one of easing restrictions Monday.

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Restaurants with outdoor seating have been allowed to open as long as they can provide 6 feet between each separate party. Indoor seating is also allowed with a maximum 25 percent capacity, along with the required social distancing regulations.

“We need to get back to a new normal, the new normal won’t be the old normal, it’ll be a new normal,” Gimenez added.

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