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State News

To Avoid 'Major Crowds,' Miami Beaches, Restaurants To Remain Closed Until After Memorial Day

Ron DeSantis
Lynne Sladky/AP
/
AP
A protestor, who did not want to be identified, holds a sign reading "Please Open Beaches" as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference during the new coronavirus pandemic, Thursday, May 14, 2020, in Doral, Fla. DeSantis has signed an executive order for the gradual reopening of Miami-Dade and Broward counties on May 18. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

With a holiday weekend coming up, some popular South Florida vacation destinations aren’t fully reopening tourist spots until after Memorial Day.

Miami-Dade and Broward counties are the last two in Florida to join the rest of the state in Governor Ron DeSantis’ "Phase One" of reopening. But with Memorial Day weekend fast approaching, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez says reopenings won’t include beaches and other entertainment options until after the holiday. That’s in an effort to avoid an influx of vacationers.

“Miami Beach has decided to open the beaches after Memorial Day weekend. I think some of the restaurants and things of that nature, the entertainment stuff, is going to open after Memorial Day weekend. I think part of the reason why they’re doing that is, they want to avoid major crowds,” Suarez said, during a conference call Monday hosted by Democratic State Representative Shevrin Jones.

Miami-Dade has the highest number of COVID-19 cases recorded of any county in Florida at nearly 16,000, and more than 560 deaths. Suarez says the City of Miami is taking a slightly more cautious approach than the rest of Dade County, and most businesses in his city and others like Miami Beach and Hialeah won’t open until Wednesday.

Suarez says the delay is in place so bigger cities can “see how it goes” for the rest of the County. The Miami Mayor said ahead of reopening, he was concerned by a surge in new COVID-19 cases over the weekend.

“We’re obviously concerned. Yesterday, we had a one-day spike in Miami-Dade County,” Suarez told Jones. “We had I think 553 cases, which is almost higher than the peak, which is weird because we haven’t even opened yet. So we’ve got to get behind that, figure out whether that’s data dump from private labs.”

DeSantis confirmed Monday the one-day surge was a glitch in reporting from a private lab.

“Miami at their peak had had 500 (in one day), but more recently had been about 150, and when they would go above that it was usually because of the Homestead prison,” the Governor said during a press conference in Orlando. “So we thought maybe that was because of the prison outbreak. It turns out, of the 500 cases reported yesterday from Miami, 400 of them were backlogged cases from three weeks ago, from April 24.”

Under what Gov. Ron DeSantis calls “full Phase 1,” which brings the state closer to what the White House allowed in its published first phase guidelines, gyms and fitness centers were permitted to open at 50 percent capacity Monday. Restaurants and retail businesses have also been permitted to expand their indoor capacity to 50 percent.