Coronavirus spike forces Miami to close beaches for July 4 weekend

Miami Beachfront (Photo by Hoberman Collection/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Beaches in Miami-Dade County will close for the July Fourth weekend-- less than a month after reopening-- and gatherings of 50 or more will be prohibited due to recent surges in coronavirus cases.

County Mayor Carlos Gimenez will sign an emergency order to close beaches starting Friday, July 3, and ending Tuesday, July 7, his office announced Friday.


Gimenez said the move was necessary and "prudent" and reiterated that masks are required inside businesses and outside when social distancing isn't possible.

Violaters could face a second-degree criminal penalty of up to $500 and 180 days in jail, the county mayor said.

"I have been seeing too many businesses and people ignoring these lifesaving rules," Giminez said in a statement. "If people are not going to be responsible and protect themselves and others from this pandemic, then the government is forced to step in and restore common sense to save lives."

Miami-Dade County reported 1,528 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday -- the highest single-day case total since the pandemic hit. The county is currently battling 30,196 cases of coronavirus and has the highest death toll in the state with 946 people dead.

Florida's alarming increase in new cases broke another record on Friday after the state's health department confirmed 8,942 cases, nearly doubling the previous record of cases reported in a single day, two days earlier, and 39 new deaths.

Currently, 122,960 people statewide have been infected with the virus and more than 3,360 people have died.

"After all the success we have had tamping down the COVID-19 curve, we cannot turn back and overload our hospitals, putting our doctors and nurses at greater risk with more emergency room cases," Gimenez said.

"Everyone must do their part and follow the rules."

Florida has also walked back other previously lifted restrictions in recent days, including banning alcohol consumption in bars as Gov. Ron Desantis admitted that the transmission of COVID-19 is being driven by a younger demographic of 18-35-year-old people.