Miami-Dade Beach will shut down its hotels amid coronavirus scare

 Saturday, March 21, 2020 

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Miami- Dade Beach is going to order to shut down its hotels cleared after the weekend and impose a midnight curfew part of a countywide decree to close almost all lodging available to visitors in the latest unprecedented effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. The city announced both measures, saying Mayor Carlos Gimenez planned a countywide order to shutter all hotels and motels, hostels and short-term rental offerings, including Airbnb.

 

Gimenez aides confirmed the order was coming and that it would mirror exemptions in the Beach rules for lodging tied to hospitals, homeless services, rooms needed for emergency responses, and other limited waivers.

With shops, restaurants, clubs, beaches and parks already closed under prior emergency orders from Gimenez, most vacationers have left the Miami area. A recent county estimate put hotel occupancy around 25 percent.

 

The Miami beach closure comes with a curfew, making Miami Beach the latest city to restrict late-night movement during the pandemic. An emergency order signed by City Manager Jimmy Morales on Friday evening states that all “commercial lodging establishments” — including hotels, hostels, dormitories, motels and short-term rental units — must be “fully closed to guests and renters” by 11:59 p.m. on Monday. The county order would follow the same timeline.

The hotel order exempts hotels or other lodging establishments that are approved to serve as shelters, provide healthcare services or house patients, patients’ families, healthcare workers, first responders, police, displaced residents and visitors or “essential personnel.” The hotels will also be required to cancel “all existing reservations, and shall refrain from accepting new guests or making new reservations” through April 22, the order says.

 

The closures do not apply to residents of residential apartment buildings or condominiums, which may include hotel units.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said that their hotels have always been the lifeline of the tourism industry. But right now, as painful as it may be, the reality is that just cannot be a tourist destination, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said in a statement.  He said the decisions were made collaboratively with Gimenez, Morales and city commissioners.

 

The curfew will be in effect daily from midnight to 5 a.m. and includes a prohibition on pedestrian and vehicular movement, standing, and parking. There will be exceptions for first responders and delivery drivers, although restaurant kitchens are already required to close at midnight.

 

The Beach had a limited curfew in effect for the busiest parts of South Beach, on Ocean Drive and Washington Avenue from 5th to 16th streets. That order, announced Sunday, will be replaced by the citywide mandate.

 

Miami Beach is the biggest city yet in the county to impose a curfew, although the curfews enacted in North Miami Beach and Key Biscayne are more restrictive, limiting any movement after 10 p.m.

 

State health officials have reported 563 cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths brought on by the disease in Florida as of Friday evening. Officials have reported 123 positive cases in Miami-Dade County.

 

The announcement marks the most significant steps Miami Beach and the county have taken to combat the spread of coronavirus, but Commissioner Mark Samuelian said more action — like a stay-at-home order — may be warranted to deal with such a “dynamic” situation.

 

The public beaches and parks across Miami-Dade County were ordered closed Thursday. All non-essential businesses in the county, ranging from casinos to nail salons, were also closed down.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday ordered all non-essential businesses in Broward and Palm Beach counties to shut down through at least the end of the month.

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