Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Beaches Closing for July 4 Weekend Due to COVID-19 Surges

Health + Wellness
Women walk from Santa Monica beach after a social media workout on the sand on May 12, 2020 in Santa Monica, California. Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Independence Day weekend is a busy time for coastal communities as people flock to the beaches to soak up the sun during the summer holiday. This year is different. Some of the country's most popular beach destinations in Florida and California have decided to close their beaches to stop the surge in coronavirus cases.


In Florida, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced last week that all beaches and parks in the county will close from Friday, July 3, through Tuesday, July 7, as CNN reported. He added that the closed beaches might not reopen next week if coronavirus cases continue to rise and people are not adhering to social distancing and face mask guidelines.

"As we continue to see more COVID-19 positive test results among young adults and rising hospitalizations, I have decided that the only prudent thing to do to tamp down this recent uptick is to crack down on recreational activities that put our overall community at higher risk," Gimenez said in a news release last week.

Once Miami-Dade County made that decision, the ripple effect extended to surrounding areas as one county after another worried about an influx of visitors and started to close beaches as well. Broward County was quick to follow when it tweeted its closures. The domino effect continued with Monroe, Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties and the city of Vero Beach following Miami-Dade's lead, according to the Palm Beach Post.

"The reason why we're doing this is because we feel that we will not be able to provide the necessary safe environment that everyone is entitled to enjoy when they come to our beaches," said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, as CNN reported.

Across the country, in California, where there are nearly 250,000 coronavirus cases, beaches in Los Angeles will county will be closed for the holiday weekend, from Friday through Monday. That includes a complete ban on fireworks in an effort to "prevent dangerous crowding that results in the spread of deadly COVID-19," the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a statement earlier this week, according to Newsweek.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn tweeted on Monday: "We had almost 3,000 reported cases just today. We cannot risk having crowds at the beach this holiday weekend," in a post on her official Twitter account.

To the north of Los Angeles, Ventura county will also close all of its county beaches over the weekend. California State Parks will close beach parking lots in Orange, Santa Barbara, Marin, Monterey, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties, according to KTLA.

Following those orders, Governor Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that state beaches in Southern California and the Bay Area will be closed this weekend, as the Sacramento Bee reported.

In New England, officials are worried about more than just the coronavirus. While officials in Cape Cod are expecting smaller than usual crowds due to COVID-19, they are warning beach visitors that a large number of great white sharks have been spotted in the area, according to The Guardian.

Leslie Reynolds, the chief ranger with Cape Cod National Seashore, warned the powerful predators were coming close enough to shore to be a concern for swimmers at a recent news conference.

"Yes, we're in the middle of a pandemic, but if you choose to recreate in the water off Cape Cod, it is home to white sharks and they're coming close to shore," said Reynolds, as The New York Times reported.

Great whites frequently visit the waters off Cape Cod to prey on the large seal colonies that live there.

"It's kind of like when a new restaurant opens and people realize it's a really good spot, and someone else discovers it and slowly the clientele builds," said Gregory B. Skomal, a senior fisheries scientist at the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, about the uptick in great whites recently, to The New York Times.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An elephant at Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island. In Defense of Animals

By Marilyn Kroplick

The term "zoonotic disease" wasn't a hot topic of conversation before the novel coronavirus started spreading across the globe and upending lives. Now, people are discovering how devastating viruses that transfer from animals to humans can be. But the threat can go both ways — animals can also get sick from humans. There is no better time to reconsider the repercussions of keeping animals captive at zoos, for the sake of everyone's health.

Read More Show Less
Isiais now approaches the Carolinas, and is expected to strengthen into a hurricane again before reaching them Monday night. NOAA

Florida was spared the worst of Isaias, the earliest "I" storm on record of the Atlantic hurricane season and the second hurricane of the 2020 season.

Read More Show Less
A campaign targeting SUV advertising is a project between the New Weather Institute and climate charity Possible. New Weather Institute

To meet its climate targets, the UK should ban advertisements for gas-guzzling SUVs, according to a report from a British think tank that wants to make SUVs the new smoking, as the BBC reported.

Read More Show Less

A company from Ghana is making bikes out of bamboo.

By Kate Whiting

Bernice Dapaah calls bamboo "a miracle plant," because it grows so fast and absorbs carbon. But it can also work wonders for children's education and women's employment – as she's discovered.

Read More Show Less
Scientists say it will take a massive amount of collective action to reverse deforestation and save society from collapse. Big Cheese Photo / Getty Images Plus

Deforestation coupled with the rampant destruction of natural resources will soon have devastating effects on the future of society as we know it, according to two theoretical physicists who study complex systems and have concluded that greed has put us on a path to irreversible collapse within the next two to four decades, as VICE reported.

Read More Show Less
Researchers have turned to hydrophones, instruments that use underwater microphones to gather data beyond the reach of any camera or satellite. Pxfuel

By Kristen Pope

Melting and crumbling glaciers are largely responsible for rising sea levels, so learning more about how glaciers shrink is vital to those who hope to save coastal cities and preserve wildlife.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The fact is, cats play different predatory roles in different natural and humanized landscapes. PIXNIO / CCO

By William S. Lynn, Arian Wallach and Francisco J. Santiago-Ávila

A number of conservationists claim cats are a zombie apocalypse for biodiversity that need to be removed from the outdoors by "any means necessary" – coded language for shooting, trapping and poisoning. Various media outlets have portrayed cats as murderous superpredators. Australia has even declared an official "war" against cats.

Read More Show Less