Alerts and Updates

As COVID-19 Cases Mount, South Florida Counties Reimpose Restrictions Before Holiday Weekend

July 1, 2020

The sharp rise in reported cases follows Florida’s transition in early June to Phase 2 of the reopening process.

In recent weeks, the number of daily reported cases of COVID-19 in Florida has spiked, as it has in many other states. To slow the spread of the virus, counties throughout the Sunshine State and South Florida in particular are reimposing restrictions on, among other things, access to public facilities such as beaches.

Ahead of the Fourth of July weekend, officials in Miami-Dade County (the most populous in the state), Palm Beach County and Broward County have announced beaches in the respective counties will be closed for the holiday weekend. All private and public beaches in Miami-Dade County will be closed from July 3 through July 6; Palm Beach County and Broward County’s public and private beaches will be closed from July 3 through July 5. Beaches are not the only locations subject to restrictions; for instance, a recent emergency order in Miami-Dade County prohibits operation of restaurants for on-premises dining between 12:01 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., though kitchens may continue to operate for delivery and takeout service during that time period. 

Further, local officials have taken additional steps to mitigate the surge in reported cases of the virus. Many cities throughout South Florida—including Miami, Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale—have adopted emergency orders requiring that face masks be worn in public. Similar precautions have also been taken elsewhere in the state; in Orlando—which has in recent years been designated as the top domestic travel destination in the United States for Independence Day—an emergency order currently in effect requires the wearing of a face mask in public, with certain exceptions.

The sharp rise in reported cases follows Florida’s transition in early June to Phase 2 of the reopening process. The governor’s Executive Order No. 20-193, signed on June 3, 2020, allowed bars, pubs, movie theaters, bowling alleys and similar “entertainment businesses” to operate at 50 percent indoor capacity. In light of the swell of positive cases since that time, Governor DeSantis stated he has no plans for the state to move into Phase 3 at this time. Further, the state’s Department of Professional and Business Regulation has ordered that vendors deriving more than 50 percent of their revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on-premises suspend sales of such beverages for on-premises consumption, though they may continue to sell beverages in sealed containers for off-premises consumption.

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Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage. 

For More Information

If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact Harvey W. Gurland, Jr., Kevin E. Vance, Patrick C. Gallagher, Ph.D., Justin M. L. Stern, any member of the COVID-19 Strategy Team or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

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