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Florida coronavirus cases near 52,000 with 2,252 deaths

May 25, 2020 GMT

MIAMI (AP) — Total coronavirus cases in Florida neared 52,000 on Monday, with 2,252 deaths, as many residents took advantage of relaxed restrictions during the Memorial Day weekend.

Numbers released Monday by the Florida Department of Health show 879 new cases since a day earlier, along with 15 new deaths.

After setting quarantine and social distancing guidelines that forced many businesses to close in March, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis began allowing restaurants and retail stores to open at limited capacities May 4 in all but the three South Florida counties. Of those areas hit hardest by COVID-19, Palm Beach County was allowed to begin reopening a week later, and Broward and Miami-Dade counties the week after that.

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Beaches in South Florida remained closed for the holiday weekend, but people flocked to open beaches in other parts of the state. Pinellas County deputies started turning away beachgoers after the crowds reached a capacity. Volusia County law enforcement officials dealt with large gatherings and a shooting that broke out near a convenience store.

Broward County beaches are expected to reopen to the public on Tuesday, followed by Miami-Dade County beaches next week. The Florida Keys, which has been closed to non-residents since March, will also reopen next week.