MIAMI (NewsNation Now) — Social media is full of South Florida party videos of bars and clubs packed with people from around the country coming to the Sunshine State to party.
Unlike states like California and New York with strict COVID-19 restrictions on crowds and businesses, Florida has not imposed limitations.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made it illegal for local governments to fine people for not wearing masks and reduce capacity inside restaurants, bars, and clubs.
As a result, people are flying to destinations like Miami to party.
“We are doing our best. Frankly, it is a difficult situation,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said.
Mayor Gelber would prefer a mask mandate in his city but can’t enforce one with fines because of the Governor’s executive order.
“We are not allowed really to fully enforce social distancing at a certain level even in bars because the governor has prevented us from doing that. We cannot issue fines on individuals who do not wear masks. But we are still giving out thousands of masks daily to people,” Gelber said.
Gelber says hotels are requiring masks and most are taking precautions so guests can have a safe experience.
“Hotels have been outstanding. I think they realize wearing a mask and promoting a healthy environment actually helps them with attracting business. It is sort of an advantage,” Gelber said.
But bars and restaurants can be a different story.
Miami Beach’s iconic Ocean Drive was crowded with partiers on many weekend nights in December, most people are from the states of California, New York, and Illinois.
Miami-Dade County is able to enforce a midnight curfew, police will clear the streets in Miami Beach and encourage visitors to return to their hotels.
The average two week percentage of positive COVID-19 cases is about 10%, according to the Miami-Dade County Health Department.
On Wednesday, Florida reported 13,871 new COVID-19 cases and 137 deaths.