(AP) – Florida’s most populous county instituted an overnight curfew, and beaches and businesses began closing down again as the state’s number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations keep rising, threatening a further spread during the festive Fourth of July weekend.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the 10 p.m.to 6 a.m. curfew begins Friday and will be in place indefinitely.
The order closes casinos, strip clubs, movie theatres and other entertainment venues a month after they were allowed to reopen.
“This curfew is meant to stop people from venturing out and hanging out with friends in groups, which has shown to be spreading the virus rapidly,” Gimenez said in a statement.
On Friday, Florida reported 9,488 new confirmed cases and 67 deaths, a day after setting a new daily record with more than 10,000 cases.
The state’s health department’s tally of hospitalisations was higher Friday at 341 new admissions in Florida, one of the biggest daily jumps since the pandemic began. Gimenez cited staffing shortages at local hospitals in announcing the curfew.
“I met with our medical experts this afternoon to discuss what other steps we can take to stop the spread of virus infection and ensure that our hospitals have sufficient capacity,” he said Thursday.
“At this time, we have plenty of beds, but some hospitals are experiencing staffing shortages.”
The mayor’s order also tightens mask rules at restaurants, requiring customers to wear facial coverings at all times unless eating or drinking.
Under the previous order, customers were allowed to remove masks when they sat down.