Why are some businesses still open in Broward County?

County Administrator says governor’s orders being followed, but county didn’t issue own order

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Large crowds are off the beaches and that is likely because officers continue to patrol to make sure no one is coming out on the sand. But on Hollywood Beach’s Broadwalk and on A1A on Fort Lauderdale Beach, there are still businesses open.

Barricades were blocking entrances to the sand and police were on patrol. In some cases, they were telling businesses to shut down.

Just a day after Florida Gov. Ron Desantis ordered that businesses including restaurants, bars, taverns, pubs, nightclubs, breweries and any other alcohol or food service that seats more than 10 people should shut down, unnecessary businesses are up and running.

“People may have individual needs that might necessitate their business be open,” said Robert Davis who was out walking.

On Friday, Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry clarified in a statement that Broward County has not issued any Executive Order or Declaration requiring that non-essential business close in response to COVID-19.

Broward County, however, is adhering to the guidelines of the Governor’s Executive Orders, the statement said.

The governor’s orders for closure apply to, and would remain in effect until March 31:

  • Restaurants, bars, taverns, pubs, nightclubs, banquet halls, cocktail lounges, cabarets, breweries, cafeterias and any other alcohol or food service business with seating for more than 10 people.
  • Movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums and playhouses.
  • Bowling alleys and arcades.
  • Gymnasiums and fitness centers.
  • Beaches.

Businesses that could remain open included:

  • Grocery stores.
  • Pharmacies.
  • Gas stations.
  • Convenience stores.
  • Restaurants’ pickup or delivery services.
  • Restaurants in airports, ports, secure facilities and hospitals.
  • Fitness centers in residential buildings, police or fire stations or hotels that have a capacity of 10 people or less.)

“Following the lead of many county governments across Florida and the nation, Broward County has taken numerous actions to protect its employees and customers while still providing essential services to the public,” said County Administrator Bertha Henry in an editorial that ran in the Sun-Sentinel newspaper.

In a statement from Henry’s office, the County Administrator stated:

“The Governor stressed that these measures represented a “minimum response” for Florida. Counties and municipalities were left free to announce more stringent measures, which several Broward County cities and Miami-Dade County have done. This issue remains very fluid.”

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