Coronavirus latest: Florida’s Miami-Dade county orders restaurants and gyms to close

Florida’s Miami-Dade county orders restaurants and gyms to close

The mayor of Miami-Dade county has ordered restaurants and gyms in Florida’s most populated region to close in response to the “spike” in the percentage of people testing positive and being hospitalised for coronavirus.

Restaurants, except for takeout and delivery services, along with ballrooms, party venues, gyms, fitness centres and short-term rentals have been ordered to close, with effect from July 8, mayor Carlos Gimenez said in a statement on Monday morning, adding he wanted to ensure the county’s hospitals “continue to have the staffing necessary to save lives”. Office buildings, retail and grooming services “will remain open for now”, he added.

Beaches in the county are due to open on July 7, “but if we see crowding and people not following the public health rules, I will be forced to close the beaches again,” said Mr Gimenez.

The move by Miami-Dade county, which has 2.8m residents, follows the state government’s decision on June 26 to order bars statewide to close, throwing Florida’s reopening into reverse. Governor Ron DeSantis has pushed back on issuing an order requiring all Floridians to wear face coverings, which has led to a number of individual counties issuing their own mask mandates or other business guidelines, such as rolling back restaurant occupancy levels.

Bars and indoor dining at restaurants are suspected to have helped spread the virus in a number of states across the west and south of the US that were quicker to reopen their economies.

Florida reported a further 6,336 people tested positive over the past 24 hours, taking the total number of cases in Florida since the pandemic began to 206,447, the state’s health department revealed on Monday morning.

That is the state’s smallest single-day increase since June 30, but follows back-to-back increases of more than 10,000, including Saturday’s record of 11,458. Among US states during the pandemic, only New York on April 15 has reported a bigger single-day rise in cases.

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