South Florida’s Fourth of July holiday festivities this year will include masks, social distancing and virtual fireworks because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But not beaches.
If you’re looking to celebrate the Fourth sunbathing on the sand with a piña colada in your hand, you’ll have to take a road trip up north. South Florida beaches are closing for the holiday weekend because of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases.
Late-night celebrations will also be limited.
In Miami-Dade, restaurants with more than an eight-person capacity and other food establishments, including fast-food chains and diners, are not allowed to offer in-person dining from 12:01 a.m. to 6 a.m. daily until further notice. If you get a late night craving, pick-up and delivery will still be available.
Miami Beach is also reimposing a citywide curfew from 12:30 a.m. to 5 a.m. until further notice, with restaurants having to close for in-person dining and take-out at midnight. Retail stores — from supermarket chains to neighborhood liquor stores — also cannot sell alcohol after 8 p.m.
In the rest of Miami-Dade, no establishment will be allowed to sell alcohol for on-site consumption between 12:01 a.m. and 6 a.m. daily.
Similar restrictions went into effect in Broward County at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, with restaurants and other food establishments not allowed to serve alcohol or food for in-person dining between midnight and 5 a.m. until further notice. Takeout, delivery, drive-through and pick-up for food and alcohol will still be permitted, according to Broward County’s emergency order.
What else is changing? Here’s what you need to know about celebrating America’s Birthday during quarantine:
Are any of the beaches open in South Florida for the Fourth of July weekend? What about the boardwalks and state parks?
All beaches in Miami-Dade County will be closed Friday through Tuesday. This means you can’t swim, walk, run, fish or do any other activities along the beach, said Miami-Dade County spokeswoman Patricia Abril. She says there may be some public bridges where people will be allowed to fish if they wear a mask and stay at least six feet away from other fishermen.
Miami-Dade County says the closures might be extended depending on whether coronavirus conditions improve and people following the “new normal” rules, including the new mandate that masks must be worn inside and outside at all times.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has said his decision was made after consulting county health experts about the state of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
After consulting with our County’s public health experts, I will be signing an emergency order on Saturday to close all beaches in Miami-Dade County starting Friday, July 3, and ending Tuesday, July 7. More info: https://t.co/oSgkrB8CrS pic.twitter.com/CydnVmljz5
— Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez (@MayorGimenez) June 27, 2020
The closures include beaches at state parks such as Oleta River State Park in North Miami Beach. The park will be closing its beaches and cabin facilities but will be open for other recreational activities such as hiking and biking along the trails during the holiday weekend.
Other state parks such as The Barnacle Historic State Park in Miami and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne will be closed completely because of the beach shutdown order.
Although beaches are closed, Miami Beach says their “beachwalk”, the sandy and concrete walking paths outside the entrances to the beaches, will remain open.
Beaches in Broward will also be closed Friday through Sunday. This means you can’t swim, walk, run fish or do any other activities along the beach, including its boardwalks and piers, Broward County spokesman Ric Barrick confirmed. The closures will not affect restaurants, which will still be allowed to remain open, he said. Restaurants along the Hollywood Broadwalk will remain open, but operate according to the new rules.
The City of Dania Beach said the Pier and beaches will be closed but the Quarterdeck restaurant will remain open at 50 percent capacity.
Palm Beach County beaches will also be closed Friday through Sunday.
And just like in Miami-Dade, beaches at state parks in Broward and Palm Beach will also be closed, with some parks shutting down completely or only being open for other recreational activities.
To see if a state park near you is open, visit https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails.
Is a Fourth of July weekend getaway to the Florida Keys possible?
Yes, but it might not be what you were expecting. Hotels, shops and restaurants remain open but many bars have shut down following a state order that suspended alcohol consumption.
Monroe County and Key West will also be closing beaches and parks from 5 p.m. Thursday until the morning of Tuesday, July 7. Beaches in Marathon and the village of Islamorada are also closed but Marathon is keeping its parks and boat ramps open. Key West boat ramps also remain open.
Key West will also be making most of Duval Street pedestrian-only — bicyclists must even walk their bikes through — from noon to 5 a.m. Friday through Sunday.
All firework shows set to go off in Monroe County are also canceled.
What Florida beaches open for the Fourth of July?
Some cities and counties across the state followed the South Florida initiative of closing beaches to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Others are leaving their beaches open but changing parking requirements that make it harder for non-residents to visit.
In counties where beaches will be open, local leaders say social distancing will be required.
Here’s where you can tan and get in the water — and where you can’t:
▪ Palm Beach County: All beaches — public and private — will be closed Friday through Sunday. Restaurants and retail establishments within beach parks and boat ramps can remain open.
▪ Naples, Marco Island: Collier County beaches will be closed from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Naples will not have hourly beach parking or allow parking on residential streets. Only those with city and county beach parking permits can park. Marco Island will close city-owned pedestrian access to the beach and some hotels are doing the same.
Local leaders expressed worry that Floridians might drive to the area with the South Florida closures.
▪ Clearwater, St. Pete Beach: Pinellas County leaders do not plan to close beaches for Fourth of July weekend. But they are expecting big crowds.
▪ Sanibel and Captiva: Lee County leaders are keeping their Southwest Florida beaches open. But Sanibel Island will close city-owned paid beach parking lots over the weekend.
▪ Melbourne Beach, Cocoa Beach, Daytona Beach: Brevard and Volusia county beaches will be open during the holiday weekend. Leaders are looking into how they can enforce social distancing and mandate masks. Beach access parking may also be limited.
▪ Jacksonville: When announcing the new mask ordinance, Jacksonville city leaders said beaches would be open through the weekend.
Can I take my boat out on the water in Florida?
Yes. But make sure you stay at least six feet away from others at the marinas.
You should also check beforehand with the marina you plan on visiting to see what new rules they might have to limit the novel coronavirus spread and to make sure they are still open since each city is allowed to make its own restrictions.
Are fireworks, parades canceled because of coronavirus?
Many municipalities canceled their Fourth of July festivities, with some opting for virtual fireworks or shows that can be viewed from outside people’s homes. All firework shows in Monroe County are also canceled.
Here are some South Florida parades that are still scheduled:
▪ Hialeah: Virtual fireworks display at 9 p.m. on the city’s social media accounts
▪ Miami Lakes: Fireworks show from Graham Dairy Lake and Miami Lakes Optimist Park to watch from home or online.
▪ Miami Beach: Home decorating and sidewalk art contests via social media and a virtual fireworks show at 9 p.m. with music by the New World Symphony.
▪ Fort Lauderdale: Four shows at 9 p.m. at Holiday Park, City Hall, Carter Park and the Beach Community Center for residents to watch from their homes
▪ Coral Springs: Parade from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with decorated city vehicles
▪ Pompano Beach: Fireworks show at 9 p.m. for residents to watch from their homes
What about hotel, motel pools?
In Miami-Dade, hotel, motel and commercial lodging pools can only be used by guests staying at the properties. Pool decks must stay at 50% capacity.
Pools can be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and alcohol can be sold starting at 11 a.m.
The rules are similar in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Pools and pool decks can be used by residents and their families, if authorized by the housing development.
Social distancing must be followed between groups on pool decks and occupancy is limited to 50% capacity.
Miami Herald staff writers Martin Vassolo, Carli Teproff, Gwen Filosa and David Goodhue contributed to this report.