While the state was urging social distancing in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, spring break crowds descended on parts of South Florida over the weekend.
The St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Rick’s Bar in Key West was in full force Saturday night, for example.
“You see these images of massive gatherings of a lot of students in places like Miami Beach,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said Sunday during a news conference. “The data suggest it's probably not a very serious threat to the health of people who are young and don't have underlying medical conditions, they can still acquire and transmit it to others.”
DeSantis said the state will make recommendations about these kinds of gatherings based on new guidelines that the Centers for Disease Control was expected to release on Monday. Later Sunday night, the CDC recommended that everyone cancel or postpone gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.
The governor praised efforts by some South Florida officials to curb crowds. The mayors of Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach announced Sunday similar measures for their cities – including curfews and beach closures.
“To effectively pull the plus on these big spring break gatherings is the right way to go,” DeSantis said.
— City of Miami Beach (@MiamiBeachNews) March 15, 2020
The following add'l proactive measures in response to COVID-19 are effective today thru 4/12:
- gatherings of 250+ prohibited
- bar/nightclubs/restaurants to reduce/limit occupancy to 50% & close 10pm-6am
- public beaches & City rec. facilities closed
— City of Fort Lauderdale (@FTLCityNews) March 15, 2020
WLRN depends on donors to remain South Florida’s leading nonprofit, most trusted source of news and information. Support our mission by giving monthly as a sustaining member of Friends of WLRN or make a one-time donation of your choice. Thank you. Click here to give.