79ºF

Enforcing reopening rules becomes team effort in South Florida

Phased-in re-openings continue with face mask requirements

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Authorities in Miami-Dade and Broward counties continue to face a great challenge with the realities of grief and unemployment that come with the coronavirus pandemic.

When it comes to shoppers wearing face masks and practicing social distancing, officials are relying mostly on personal responsibility. Business owners are held to a higher standard.

Broward County is considering creating a database, so customers can be aware of the noncompliant locations. Deputies and officers are not issuing citations. A notice to appear is the most strict punishment. Education is a priority.

In Miami-Dade County, code enforcement officers and police officers are teaming up. As of the second day of reopening, they reported checking on about 5,325 businesses and finding only 30 of them were in non-compliance.

Issuing citations is their last option.

LOGISTICS OF REOPENING

By reopening businesses by sector and geographical areas, state and county officials are aiming to implement strategies that strike a balance between minimizing health risks and saving the shrinking economy.

Some officials agree it’s not a good time to be too tough on business owners. Others believe being tough will help consumers feel safer. But business owners are already having to adapt to density limits, payroll adjustments, and determining what roles are suitable for virtual work.

Some businesses will not be able to reopen. Economists expect the pandemic to test the viability of the retail sector as more shoppers are increasingly choosing to order online.

HOW TO REPORT VIOLATORS

What should you do if you walk into a business where employees are not wearing face masks or practicing social distancing? Officers are asking the public not to call 911, but to speak to the store manager first.

If that doesn’t change behavior, residents need to call 311 or 954-563-4357 in Broward County or 305-468-5900 in Miami-Dade County. Complainants can also call the local police department’s non-emergency line.

MORE ON REOPENINGS


About the Authors: