Miami Beach Shuts Down All Beaches as Spring Breakers Defy Social Distancing Orders

Tabatha Hannah, a student at St. Clair Community College, center, talks with Miami Beach police officers during spring break, Saturday, March 14, 2020, in Miami Beach, Fla. Portions of South Beach were closed late Saturday to avoid large group gatherings that could spread the coronavirus. South Beach is a popular …
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Miami Beach is closing its beaches in response to the growing coronavirus pandemic — news which comes days after spring breakers defied orders of social distancing, congregating on South Florida beaches to party.

The City of Miami Beach is taking more aggressive action following its State of Emergency declaration. It now includes restricted use of the city’s beach walks and the mass closure of “publicly owned and privately owned parks, beaches, and recreational facilities.”

The order also requires “religious institutions to reduce their occupancy to no more than 10 persons”:

All of the changes go into effect Friday, March 20.

“We must all act as if we are infected and take every precautionary step to prevent transmitting this virus,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said.

The more stringent measures follow reports of hordes of spring breakers partying on South Florida beaches — drinking, twerking, and wrestling — while ignoring warnings of officials who are urging the practice of social distancing.

“If I get corona, I get corona,” spring breaker Brady Sluder said, further demonstrating the tension between the generations in this public health crisis.

“At the end of the day, I’m not gonna let it stop me from partying,” he continued. “You know, I’ve been waiting, we’ve been waiting for Miami spring break for a while, about two months we’ve had this trip planned”:

Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has provided a “floor” position, as far as the closure of beaches, in congruence with the CDC’s social distancing guidelines of “no group on a beach more than ten” but has said that localities across the state may choose to take more aggressive action.

“The message, I think, for spring breakers is that the party’s over in Florida,” DeSantis told Fox & Friends on Thursday.

“You’re not going to be able to congregate at any beach in the state. Many of the hotspots that people like to go to, whether it’s Miami Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Clearwater Beach, are closed entirely for the time being,” he continued.

“The bars are closed so you’re not going to have a place to congregate there,” he added.

According to the ABC affiliate WEARTV, several cities, including the Town of Fort Myers Beach, the City of Naples, and the City of Tampa, are shutting down or moving to shut down beach access.


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