Officials in Broward County looking into ways to safety reopen businesses

Broward County mayors across several cities are talking about the safest way forward.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County mayors across several cities are talking about the safest way forward.

They trying to coordinate Phase I reopening's in their respective cities and neighboring counties.

Broward residents have been adapting to a new normal, but the pressure for more openings is mounting.

This as Palm Beach County to the north enters a new chapter in this saga, reopening businesses.

Broward Mayor Dale Holness hosted another virtual meeting Monday, after sending out a questionnaire, asking city leaders for their thoughts on reopening things like personal care services, which received overwhelming approval.

“Widespread testing, the antibody testing would be very helpful,” said Holness. “We are working toward getting that done.”

It's the same situation with restaurants, under strict rules, which even more recommended.

People walking in Fort Lauderdale, some wearing face masks. (WPLG)

Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine said he’d like to see businesses operating, under capacity, by the end of the week instead.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis is one of many city mayors pushing for a gradual reopening, on par with Miami, in about a week.

“There is quite a bit of dialogue going on,” Trantalis said. “At some point, we have to establish a balance between protecting ourselves against the virus and economic viability.”

He added that businesses, like restaurants, salons and gums, will have to follow PPE and social distancing guidelines.

“Somewhere between 25 and 50 percent occupancy,” Trantalis said.

Don Lolo’s has beeen a staple in Hallandale Beach, operating for 14 years. Manager Alex Nova said he even with takeout, business has gone down by more than half.

“We are trying to do our best,” said Nova.

He said he welcomes the idea of customers coming back to dine in, but he fears the requirements, the crowd restrictions, could end up being more of a curse than a blessing for a business his size.

“We’re going to try to keep everything as clean as we can,” he said.

Mayor Holness said the caution he shows in the reopening process is because we’re not where we want to be when it comes to testing for COVID-19.

While the curve has flattened, he said there is space in hospitals, with the county awaiting antibody test kits from the state.

About the Author:

Andrew Perez is a South Florida native who joined the Local 10 News team in May 2014.