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Adherence to Emergency Orders Has Reduced Spread of Virus
  
- Continued vigilance will promote sustainable recovery -
  

BROWARD COUNTY, FL -  County officials, including Mayor Dale V.C. Holness and County Administrator Bertha Henry thank residents and businesses for their months-long collaboration in compliance with restrictions that have successfully reduced the number of deaths from COVID-19, lowered the number of new cases, decreased positivity rates among most age groups and lowered hospitalizations. They also share a message of caution and concern.

Residents are urged to maintain their vigilance, even as the County embraces Phase 3 of reopening, as mandated by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ Executive Order 20-244, issued on September 25.

“Broward County cannot abandon compliance to proven practices that are reducing our numbers and increasing the overall health of our community,” said Mayor Holness. “The Governor’s Order has accelerated Broward County’s recovery plan, but we are confident we can successfully operate in the ‘new normal’ if we don’t let down our guard.”

“Local protective measures have helped contain the virus,” said Henry. “The Governor’s Order compels us to reopen all businesses and pre-empts our ability to effectively limit capacity for certain establishments. However, while we will be retooling local guidelines to ensure they are in line with the Governor’s mandate, we have not eliminated restrictions that require sanitization, social distancing and the wearing of facial coverings.”

Included in the Governor’s Phase 3 reopening are the reopening of bars, night clubs and other businesses that until September 25 were closed under Broward’s Emergency Orders.

While the Governor’s Order temporarily suspends collection of individual fines for violations of Emergency Orders, including the wearing of facial coverings in public, it did not suspend the County’s ability to issue citations for these and other violations.

“Compliance enforcement has proven to be a key factor in containing the spread of COVID-19. Resident participation in reporting non-compliant businesses has been critical to our success, and we ask the community to continue to support that effort. We will continue to issue citations to businesses and individuals as our local Emergency Orders require, and it is our intent to collect the fines once the State’s Declaration of Emergency expires,” said Henry. Anyone who receives a citation is entitled to an appeal, if they believe the citation has been issued in error.

Meanwhile, the County continues to proactively plan for next steps in dealing with this unprecedented pandemic. Today the County issued a clarifying Emergency Order 20-27, effective October 2 at 12:01AM, which clarifies requirements for establishments that serve food and/or alcohol:

  • On-premise consumption of food and alcohol must end at 11PM.

  • Establishments licensed to serve food may operate at up to 100% of indoor capacity if a distance of six feet is maintained between tables, and no more than six people sit at a table. Should an establishment not be able to meet the minimum 50% capacity requirement (as set forth by the Governor's Executive Order), an establishment may, to reach the 50% capacity level, allow patrons to stand at an assigned table or in an assigned area, and must comply with social distancing requirements to the maximum extent possible.

  • Establishments that only serve alcohol (that are not licensed to serve food) must operate at no more than 50% of the establishment’s indoor capacity.

  • Total combined occupancy of indoor and outdoor areas shall not exceed existing total maximum occupancy.

Emergency Order 20-27 also: 

  • Allows individuals at fitness centers and gyms to remove facial coverings while working out, but requires they be worn by individuals at all times when not engaged in physical activity, such as while moving between machines and around the establishment.
  • Allows playgrounds and exercise equipment to reopen, so long as the managing entity takes responsibility for regular cleaning and sanitizing of the equipment.
  • Permits hot tubs to open in homeowner association (HOA) communities, but operations are subject to more stringent rules that may be imposed by the HOA.

A comprehensive new Emergency Order from Broward County will be issued in the near future, which will realign guidelines and restrictions for various businesses with the Governor’s latest Executive Order.

Date: September 30, 2020

Media Contact:

Lori Shepard, Media Liaison

Office of Public Communications

lshepard@broward.org

954-357-6990