Miami Beach becomes first South Florida city to order residents to stay at home

Other local cities are expected to follow suit

Mar.March 23, 2020 05:00 PM
The city of Miami Beach issued a stay-at-home order (Credit: iStock)

The city of Miami Beach issued a stay-at-home order (Credit: iStock)

Miami Beach became the first city in South Florida to issue a stay-at-home order, after a surge of people gathering on land and on the water led to more closures this weekend to try to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The city of Miami Beach issued its order to take effect just after midnight on Monday. That means that residents and visitors in Miami Beach can only travel to and from essential retail and businesses, including grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants for take-out and delivery, gas stations, banks and healthcare providers. They can also exercise outdoors, keeping at least six feet between people and avoiding gatherings of 10 people or more.

Gyms, fitness centers and swimming pools in residential buildings in Miami Beach can remain open as long as they follow social distancing. Other cities in South Florida are expected to follow suit, the Miami Herald reported. The city of Miami is holding an emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss a shelter-in-place order.

States across the country have issued similar orders, including California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Michigan, Massachusetts, Indiana and Delaware.

The village of Key Biscayne issued an emergency order effective at 12:01 a.m. Monday limiting and restricting non-essential and non-residential travel into Key Biscayne. Essentially, non-residents aren’t allowed onto the island unless they own property or an essential business there. The order ends March 31.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered all boat ramps and marinas, including those at county parks, to close as of Saturday. “I am disappointed to see photos and videos on social media of boats close together and large groups of people congregating,” Gimenez said in a statement.

All state parks are closing by Monday, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection announced.

Saturday morning, Gimenez also amended an emergency order requiring hotel and motel closures in the county. All hotels, motels, short-term rentals and other lodging businesses must have their guests and renters out by midnight on Monday. The exception to this order is for essential guests, including healthcare professionals, first responders, national guard members and law enforcement. The city of Miami Beach announced city-wide hotel closures on Friday.

All non-essential businesses, including restaurant dining rooms, malls, retail stores, casinos and gyms, and beaches, were ordered to shut down last week in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Construction sites are still allowed to remain open.

Late Thursday, Monroe County ordered all hotels, guest houses, vacation rentals and short-term rentals in RV parks to close on Sunday for a period of two weeks. On Sunday, Monroe announced it was closed to visitors.

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