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Miami Is Shutting Restaurants Again Because Coronavirus Infections Are Skyrocketing

The Miami-Dade County mayor announced gyms would also close, but then reversed that decision on Tuesday.

Last updated on July 7, 2020, at 2:46 p.m. ET

Posted on July 6, 2020, at 1:53 p.m. ET

Chandan Khanna / Getty Images

Restaurantgoers sit on an outdoor patio on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach on June 26.

Miami is shutting down restaurants just one month after reopening them, as cases of COVID-19 spike across the city.

The measures in Miami-Dade County are being taken in order to flatten the curve and not overwhelm already struggling hospitals, county officials said, blaming graduation parties and indoor dining.

In the announcement Monday, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez said that gyms would also close again, but reversed that decision on Tuesday.

He noted that fitness studios would require everyone working out inside to wear a mask while exercising.

I had a very productive virtual meeting just now with our medical experts and the County’s Wellness Group. We arrived at a compromise to keep gyms & fitness studios open. All doing activities inside must wear a mask or do strenuous training outside staying 10 feet apart w/outmask

"We want to ensure that our hospitals continue to have the staffing necessary to save lives," Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez said in a press release announcing the closures.

Restaurants (except for takeout and delivery), short-term rentals and party venues will be shut again from Wednesday. Hotel pools, childcare, and summer camps will remain open.

Other counties in Florida, which include cities such as Orlando, have kept restaurants open.

Currently, Florida has one of the highest rates of infection in the country, with 206,447 people testing positive for the coronavirus, and 6,327 new cases on Monday.

Miami-Dade County, which covers Miami, Miami Beach, and the Everglades, has had an average of 1,900 cases per day, a 229% increase from just 14 days ago.

Some Miami-Dade restaurants reopened for indoor dining on May 18, while the city of Miami reopened on May 27, after restaurants had been shut completely on March 16.

Restaurants could only be open at 50% capacity.

But even at a lower capacity, the spread has continued from gatherings of people inside, said the mayor, noting how many of the positive cases have been young people.

"We are still tracking the spike in the number of cases involving 18- to 34-year-olds that began in mid-June, which the County’s medical experts say was caused by a number of factors, including young people going to congested places — indoors and outside — without taking precautions such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing," Giminez said.

"Contributing to the positives in that age group, the doctors have told me, were graduation parties, gatherings at restaurants that turned into packed parties in violation of the rules and street protests where people could not maintain social distancing and where not everyone was wearing facial coverings," Giminez said.

Chandan Khanna / Getty Images

A couple talks over drinks at an outdoor table at a restaurant on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach on June 26.

Protests began in May to reopen gyms in Florida, with protesters doing push-ups on the street outside of a local courthouse trying to get lawmakers to reopen fitness centers.

Gyms reopened on June 8 and had to operate at 75% capacity. That capacity restriction will remain.

Reopening has seen coronavirus numbers skyrocket in states including Florida, California, and Texas. Texas shut down its bars and limited indoor dining again in late June after the state saw infection rates spike.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.