Governor Ron DeSantis said that Broward County can begin the process of reopening for business starting on Monday, May 18. He made the announcement in Doral at a conference attended by local leaders including Broward County Mayor Dale Holness, and Miami-County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. DeSantis also announced that Miami Dade County will be reopening.
Restaurants and stores will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity but beaches in Broward will remain closed until at least May 26.
In Broward gyms at apartment complexes and homeowners associations will be able to open with some restrictions.
Broward leaders had asked for 50 percent capacity because they feared businesses would not be profitable if they could only operate at 25 percent.
Earlier in the week, the Broward County Commission held a meeting to discuss reopening. County Administrator Bertha Henry wrote a proposal on reopening that was sent to DeSantis.
Most of the other Florida counties are in phase one of reopening but Broward and Miami-Dade are opening later because most of the COVID-19 cases were there. DeSantis said that trend of fewer cases in these counties is improving. “We can’t take our eye off the ball because the virus is still a threat,” he said.
Holness said the beaches in the region should remain closed and open at one time. If some cities open their beaches and others do not, then large numbers of people will come to those beaches that are open. “We are all in this together and we must work in a collaborative manner,” said Holness. He said it will be a difficult challenge to bring the economy back to where it was before the COVID-19 crisis.
Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy said, “The virus is not going away so the state needs to find its way to reopen while maintaining guidelines to limit the spread of the virus,” he said. “We need to maintain social distancing and tables and workstations must be at least six feet apart.”