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‘Out-of-Towners’ Blamed for ‘Mayhem’ After Florida City Re-Opens Beach

Posted on | May 17, 2020 | 2 Comments


Florida’s COVID-19 response has been a tremendous success story. Much like Georgia, where Gov. Brian Kemp resisted the Cult of Eternal Lockdown, the Republican governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, delayed issuing a statewide lockdown order and was one of the first governors to lift the order. As I have explained elsewhere, most Florida counties were handling their own coronavirus outbreaks with local policies, so DeSantis didn’t feel a statewide lockdown was necessary, especially because there were so many counties with very few cases, but finally he gave in to the political pressure. And as soon as May 1 arrived, DeSantis was ready to go back to business. Democrats demonized DeSantis, with activist Daniel Uhlfelder touring Florida beaches dressed as the Grim Reaper to promote the message that the Republican governor’s decision would kill people.

Meanwhile, Florida residents have begun resuming normal life without a statewide mandate, which means local governments are making their own decisions. Naples, on the state’s southwest coast, opened its beach May 1, but last weekend saw such crowds that they closed it again:

The city of Naples closed its public beaches at 12:01 a.m. Sunday. City leaders said the beaches were overrun with beachgoers to start the weekend, so the move is a continued effort to stop the possible spread of the coronavirus.
According to the city press release, “In an effort to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and alignment with CDC guidance and Governor DeSantis’s Executive Order 20-112, the City of Naples will be closing all public beaches within city limits effective 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, May 10 until further notice.” . . .
Naples Councilman Gary Price told us he visited the beaches during [Saturday, May 9] to get a look for himself. And what he said he saw disappointed him, concerned him and caused him to make a call to the city manager about how to regain control of the beaches in the city.
“We really wanted to make sure that people were safe,” Price said. “And what I saw today is what I believe to be really not safe.”
Price took a picture while checking out the beach, and that’s what prompted him to take action, he said. Price said he saw signs that people were visiting from the east coast of the state since their beaches remain closed.
“I took some pictures of cars that were from Broward and Miami-Dade dealership plates,” Price said. “And so you could tell from the cars.”

See? It’s not the Collier County locals who caused the problem; rather, it was people traveling from the Miami area — more than 100 miles away, where the beaches are still closed — who were the problem. Three counties (Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward) account for about 60% of all coronavirus deaths in Florida, and guess what else we know about those counties? Right — they’re overwhelmingly Democrat. In the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton got 57% of the vote in Palm Beach, 64% in Miami-Dade and 67% in Broward. So the lockdown of the entire state was necessitated by the high rates of infection in these Democratic stongholds. Now that the statewide order has been lifted, the beaches remain closed in the high-infection Democrat areas. This creates problems for places like Naples, in Collier County, where infection rates have been low. Would you care to guess how people vote in Naples?

You guessed it — Trump got 62% of the vote in Collier County.

Partisan affiliation correlates with lifestyle differences, which is why Democrat-dominated areas of Florida have high COVID-19 infection rates, and why Republican-leaning Naples can’t re-open its beaches without being overrun by people trying to escape from Miami:

The City of Naples has voted to reopen its beaches again but this time with some limitations.
After a grueling emergency meeting and three failed motions, council members negotiated their way to a fourth and final vote.
Naples beaches will be open sunrise to sunset, Monday through Friday, starting at 7 a.m. May 13. The beaches will have shorter hours on weekends: 7 to 11 a.m. and then closing before reopening from 5 p.m. to sunset. The weekend hours will extend to Memorial Day, too.
Coolers and tents will not be allowed on the beaches, but chairs can be used in the evenings to watch the sunset.
Parking enforcement has been beefed up with fines doubling to $200 with no option to pay early for a discount. Illegally parked cars can also now be towed.
Parking will be limited to those with beach stickers (both city and Collier County stickers are accepted) but the city will not allow parking on residential streets unless they are properly marked parking spaces.
Readers React: Facebook readers react to city of Naples public beach closures, lack of social distancing
Some council members were steadfast in trying to get shorter hours during the weekdays as well as the weekends.
“I am rigidly set on 7-day bifurcation hours,” Councilman Ray Christman said. “It seems to me that opening the beach from dawn to dusk, five days a week and not placing any limitations on activities is just further increasing the risk of having out-of-towners coming in and using the beach and creating a situation that replicated last weekend.” . . .
Only a week after the city opened the beaches to the public, the closure order was issued after a council member witnessed crowds on Saturday not following social distancing guidelines.
“My judgment call was not done hastily,” Mayor Teresa Heitmann said. “It was done with the city manager, the police chief and the fire department to make sure this situation does not get out of control. I heard descriptions of mayhem and a lack of regard to emergency orders of social distancing.”

Democrats come to town? “Mayhem!”

Beyond this problem in Naples, how is Florida faring in its return to normalcy? We were told by Democrats like Uhlfelder that DeSantis’s decision would certainly result in thousands of COVID-19 deaths, but guess what? It hasn’t happened. Three weeks ago, during the week of April 18-24, Florida reported an average of 825.7 new cornavirus daily, and 45.7 deaths daily. For the week of May 9-15, the average daily number of new cases was 644.7 — a 22% reduction — and the average daily number of COVID-19 deaths was 31.7, a reduction of 31%. Florida’s per-capita death rate from the virus is still 94% lower than New York’s.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers!



2 Responses to “‘Out-of-Towners’ Blamed for ‘Mayhem’ After Florida City Re-Opens Beach”

  1. Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup » Pirate's Cove
    May 17th, 2020 @ 9:46 am

    […] The Other McCain says out of towners to blame for Florida beach mayhem. And goes in the mailbox. […]

  2. Florida Hasn’t Seen a Resurgence of COVID-19 | 357 Magnum
    May 18th, 2020 @ 12:01 pm

    […] Democrats were sure that opening the state of Florida would result in DEATH. Hasn’t happened, but there have been other problems. ‘Out-of-Towners’ Blamed for ‘Mayhem’ After Florida City Re-Opens Beach. […]