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Cities and states across the nation are taking extreme measures in an attempt to flatten the curve of the coronavirus spread, such as placing “shelter in place” orders and instituting nightly curfews. In response, many people have canceled vacations and postponed spring break plans.
However, despite urging by the CDC and other government agencies to practice social distancing and self-isolation, some spring breakers are determined to party on — and it's drawing backlash.
Florida party spots like Miami Beach have taken proactive measures by declaring it illegal for more than 10 people to gather – both on the beach and in the city. Miami Beach has also shut down bars and restaurants, although takeout and delivery were still available.
Mayors for Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale further said they would issue fines, and possibly arrest those found violating the new restrictions. However, as of March 18, the Florida governor has still refused to shut down beaches entirely amid the spread of coronavirus.
South Padre Island in Texas, another popular spring break destination, issued a local state of disaster for public health emergency on March 16, days after hundreds of partiers were pictured flocking to the island. The declaration banned gatherings of over 50 people.
Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, was conflicted on the matter when asked if people should be out on the beaches now, and ultimately deferred to doctors to determine whether or not it was OK.
“I’ve heard different opinions that we are trying to avoid people being in crowded spaces, yet at the same time, it’s not bad to be out in the fresh air.”
Recommendations from the CDC say to avoid congregating in groups bigger than 10 and to practice social distancing.