A summer tradition in this part of the Sunshine State is canceled due to the pandemic. Starting Thursday, beaches in South Florida will close in anticipation of the 4th of July weekend. It's part of a new strategy to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the region.

"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," Mayor Carlos Gimenez said in a press release.

To slow down said uptick, Gimenez moved to not only close the beaches but also put a restriction on gatherings of more than 50 people over the weekend.

As soon as Miami-Dade closed its shoreline for Independence Day, neighboring counties moved to do the same.

On Saturday, Broward County joined Miami-Dade in closing its oceanfront. "We feel we will not be able to provide the necessary safe environment everyone is entitled to enjoy when they come to our beaches," Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said at a press conference announcing the closure.

On Sunday, the last domino fell as Palm Beach County announced it would close its beaches for the 4th of July, citing public health concerns.

Reactions to the closures were mixed on social media. "I wish people would wear masks and social distance," April, who goes by Gatormomm, said on Twitter. "Sadly, this is necessary."

"You probably are saving thousands of lives," Suzanne Dundee tweeted, referring to Gimenez's order. "Save the people, they're not acting responsibly. Save the county, the numbers are climbing."

Others were not pleased with the decision. "The beaches aren't the problem. They enable social distancing," tweeted Pascal A. Bourgeois, who also said he would make his frustrations known at the ballot box against Gimenez. "Not gonna be voting for you EVER."

The Sunshine State is currently going through a record-breaking spike of COVID-19 cases. While South Florida's beachfront will endure a July 4 shutdown, there is currently no word yet as if other Florida beach counties will follow in the region's footsteps.

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