Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez dramatically changed the county’s approach to the coronavirus crisis on Thursday by using new emergency powers to shut down the most popular public events on the March calendar, including the Youth Fair, Miami Open tennis tournament and the NASCAR race in Homestead. Hours later, NASCAR announced the Homestead race would proceed Sunday, but without spectators in the stands.
Gimenez also said all concerts and major events at the county-owned AmericanAirlines Arena are called off. He also called for “smaller gatherings” to be reconsidered “if they’re not essential.”
In a morning statement, Gimenez also said more crackdowns could be coming on events larger than 250 people.
The statement represents a severe escalation for the county’s response to COVID-19 after days of Gimenez’s emphasizing the need to protect senior citizens, clean hands and sanitize but otherwise continue with daily routines He emphasized the county’s coronavirus footing could change day by day, and his return from Washington, D.C.., Wednesday night from a White House meeting on the cruise industry marked that shift.
He signed an emergency declaration at Miami International Airport that went into effect Thursday morning and promptly announced the event cancellations.