CALIFORNIA has locked down 223,000 beaches over July 4 coronavirus fears as Los Angeles has banned all firework displays to prevent 'dangerous' crowds.
July 4, usually associated with warm weather, firework displays and beach parties, will be different this year following the Los Angeles County's decision to close beaches after a dramatic surge in coronavirus cases.
More than 2,900 cases were reported in the county of June 29 – the single largest one-day count since the pandemic began, bringing the state total to more than 220,000.
Beaches will be closed from just after midnight on July 3 through to 5am on July 6 and firework displays have also been banned so "dangerous" crowds can be prevented report Newsweek.
"Closing the beaches and prohibiting fireworks displays during this important summer holiday weekend was an incredibly difficult decision to make, but it's the responsible decision to protect public health and protect our residents from a deadly virus," said Barbara Ferrer, director of the county's public health department.
All public beaches, piers, parking lots, beach bike paths and beach access points will also be temporarily closed from July 3-6.
Any decision to close Long Beach will be made by their own health department.
The new order makes it illegal to trespass and fines of $1,000 could be issued.
Beaches in Florida's Broward county, Miami-Dade county and Palm Beach county will also be closed for the July 3-5 holiday weekend – dashing residents' hopes to celebrate Independence Day there.
June 29 was the sixth consecutive day in which at least 5,000 new cases have been announced, according to U.S. Today.
The sunshine state has now more than 146,000 cases and more than 3,400 deaths. The cases have more than doubled since Florida entered the second phase of its reopening plan on June 5.
Under phase two, bars and restaurants could operate at 50% capacity and gyms could operate at full capacity.
FEARS OF A SECOND WAVE
The closure of beaches is part of the growing statewide response of enforcing new lockdowns as states have shut down bars and gyms following a spike in cases.
On Friday, Healey Beshears, the secretary of the agency which regulates Florida bars, announced via a tweet that on-premise alcohol consumption would stop immediately, following a record surge of 8,942 confirmed new infections.
After reopening on May 22, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced bars should close again after the positivity rate rose to 10.42% in the state – a level not seen since mid-April, according to the Texas Tribune.
He said: "If the positivity rate rose above 10%, the State of Texas would take further action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19," he said.
"It is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars."
Restaurants can remain open for dine-in service but must not exceed 50% capacity and gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments.
Arizona governor Doug Ducey, who ended a stay-home order in mid-May and had allowed most businesses to reopen, signed an Executive Order on Monday to prohibit large gatherings of more than 50 people.
He also ordered a ban on issuing new special event licenses and paused the operations of bars, gyms, movie theaters, waterparks and tubing rentals.
Ducey delayed the start of public schools for in-person learning until at least August 17, to help save lives.
Schools will be able to conduct distance learning should they choose before then.
The temporary closure of these businesses is effective for one month.
Arizona – a state of more than seven million people – had more than 70,000 confirmed cases as of June 27, up from just over 20,000 on June 1.
In June, 22 US states reported record increases in new cases, often multiple times, including Alaska, Arkansas, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon and Utah.
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