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Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale Jointly Announce Closure of Beaches, Other Measures

Spring break is officially coming to an end at two South Florida party spots.

Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach announced jointly Sunday afternoon they are closing their beaches in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Dean Trantalis, mayor of Fort Lauderdale, and Dan Gelber, mayor of Miami Beach, said the two cities developed a plan so that any new rules implemented by one city would not send a crush of spring breakers to the other municipality.

“We have to everything we can to minimize crowds and stop further cases of COVID-19,” said Trantalis.

He added that Fort Lauderdale Beach will be closed as of today through April 12 from Harbor Drive to north of Oakland Park Blvd.

Gelber said South Beach will be closed from 5th St to 15th St. until March 19th. Officials will decide at that time whether the beach should remain closed.

He addressed spring breakers descending on South Beach: “You have a mother, you have a grandmother and maybe a great grandmother. That virus can be extremely dangerous to them. We cannot come a petri dish for a very dangerous virus.”

The two mayors announced the policy as the number of new cases increased overnight to 109 in Florida, with 36 in Broward.

Gelber had already declared that spring break was “over” in South Beach during a Thursday news conference.

On Friday, Fort Lauderdale’s mayor called a state of emergency in response to the virus, cancelling all city events and meetings for the next 30 days, through April 12.

The following events in Fort Lauderdale are postponed:

* All meetings of the commission and city boards, including advisory boards, city committees and City working groups;

* All special magistrate, code enforcement, board of adjustment and nuisance abatement board hearings;

* All homeowner association and civic association meetings held on city property;

* All city events and city-approved events; and

* All city recreational programs, facility rentals, pools and organized sports leagues. Parks facilities and community centers remain open during normal business hours; however, all programming is postponed.

In addition, all organized public gatherings must now be capped at 250 people, says Trantalis.

Exemptions include land or facilities owned and managed by Broward County, the Broward County School Board, the North Broward Hospital District, the state or federal government, as well as hospitals and healthcare facilities.

Fort Lauderdale is requiring every public place, including all businesses, restaurants, bars and retail shops, to have alcohol-based hand sanitizer at every entrance.