Broward County has also issued an Emergency Order which implements new restrictions to help curtail large social gatherings, including house parties, street parties and other activities that are contributing to community spread of the virus:
- Curfew – Effective July 17, 2020 at 11PM and until August 1, 2020, all of Broward County is under a curfew from 11PM to 5AM. Exemptions to the curfew include: active duty police, fire rescue, first responders, news media, delivery or transportation drivers, government employees, persons seeking emergency medical care and medical, health care and utility service personnel. Also exempt are individuals traveling to and from their place of employment, returning to their homes after commercial travel, and persons walking their pets within 250 feet of their residence.
- Private Gatherings – Effective immediately, private gatherings at a residential property, single-family or otherwise, indoors and/or outdoors, are limited to no more than 10 individuals. Persons present at such gatherings shall be individually liable for violations of this Order and subject to civil and criminal penalties. The owner(s) of the residential property are also liable for violations that occur on their property, whether or not they are in residence or on site at the time of the violation. Residents of any private residential property, whether they own or rent, must ensure all persons on their property comply with the guidelines, subject to civil and criminal penalties.
- Vacation Rentals – Short-term vacation rentals that are not actively managed by on-site owners or on-site management companies with staffing or security on site 24 hours a day to enforce compliance with all the requirements, are not permitted to operate, effective for check-ins commencing on or after July 20, 2020 through August 20, 2020.
- Restaurant Operations – Ordering food or beverage from a bar counter is strictly prohibited. Effective immediately, restaurant patrons must order and consume food and drinks at a table, following all other requirements as outlined in previously issued operating guidelines.
- Gym and Fitness Center Operations – Effective immediately,all persons shall wear a facial covering at all times while using or visiting a gym or fitness center, including while exercising.
- Signage Requirements – Effective July 20, 2020 at 12:01AM, owners, operators and landlords of commercial property at which any retail, restaurant or food establishment is located must ensure compliance by those establishments with the signage requirements of the Emergency Order and must also ensure the required signage is conspicuously posted in common areas of the property such as mall entrances, food courts and hallways.
Individuals in our community have a personal responsibility to adhere to the guidelines and do their part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The new Order strongly recommends that any person who tests positive for COVID-19, or who is experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, immediately:
- self-isolate to the greatest extent possible and avoid contact with any other person
- avoid visiting establishments and amenities except when medically necessary
- avoid use of common areas such as shared kitchens, laundry rooms or recreational facilities, especially in shared housing or multi-housing developments
Businesses in our community must adhere to the guidelines governing their operations, and patrons of reopened business are encouraged to report violations, which may result in warnings, citations, fines and/or business closures. Through July 15, County and municipal code and law enforcement teams have issued 57 citations and 768 warnings.
The number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb, along with positivity rates. In the past week, Broward has experienced more than 1,300 new cases each day and positivity rates as high as 16.58%. County hospitals are either at or are exceeding their bed capacity.
It is important for residents and businesses to understand the role they play in reducing these alarming statistics, by following reopening guidelines and requirements for social distancing and wearing facial coverings.
“I am imploring the community to do what’s necessary, we’re losing an average of 3 lives per day in Broward County. The life you save could be your own, let’s do what’s needed in order to protect ourselves and protect our community,” said Mayor Dale Holness.