FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A total of 12 businesses were issued citations in a weekend sweep by Fort Lauderdale code compliance officials who checked out restaurants on Friday and Saturday nights making sure coronavirus rules were followed.
On Friday night, seven businesses were cited, with six shutdown for 24 hours; on Saturday, five were ordered citations and four were ordered to shut down.
On Friday night, Piazza Italia, 904 E. Las Olas Blvd., received a $15,000 fine for repeat violations. The restaurant was reopened Saturday after a follow up compliance visit.
On Saturday, Bamboo Beach Tiki Bar, 4040 Galt Ocean Drive, was fined $15,000 for failure to comply with a previous shutdown order.
Spazio Italian Restaurant, 239 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., was another one of the businesses shut down Saturday. It was fined $500 for a repeat violation.
Fort Lauderdale Code Enforcement Officer Manny Garcia said: "There are tables that are overlapping on top of the bar. They are not supposed to be set up in that way."
While some patrons welcomed the enforcement, others were visibly annoyed.
On Friday night, when Tommy Bahama Marlins Bar on Las Olas Boulevard was ordered shut, one woman told Local 10: “All of a sudden we can’t even have a cocktail? I’m not even near anybody. This is getting out of hand.”
But Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said it is for the good of the public. “The whole point of this is to create safe environments for people so they feel comfortable about going out to the businesses.”
The City of Fort Lauderdale’s Community Enhancement and Compliance Division announced on Friday that they were going to conduct what they said were “unscheduled compliance checks” of businesses throughout the weekend. They promised crackdowns on businesses until 2 a.m. each night.
“We will be looking to ensure that no one is past 50 percent maximum occupancy in the building,” Porshia Williams, Fort Lauderdale Code Compliance manager, said. Other compliant issues that, if not followed, could mean a fine and shutdown were: patrons not congregating at bars, tables at least six feet apart, signage with COVID guidelines was displayed, and businesses operating were approved for Phase 1 of the city’s reopening.
Starting Friday, a countywide rule went into effect that any business owner not following compliance rules could be find from $250 to $15,000 for repeat violators. Some are ordered shut for 24 hours until they can make changes to be compliant.
27 Bar and Lounge, 835 NE 3rd Ave., $250 fine, shut down, not enforcing social distancing or facial coverings, use of bar area.
Bamboo Beach Tiki Bar, 4040 Galt Ocean Drive, $15,000 fine, shut down, failure to comply with previous shutdown order.
Casablanca Café, 3049 Alhambra St., $250 fine, shut down, exceeding maximum capacity, not enforcing social distancing, and patrons eating and drinking at bar.
Luigi’s Tuscan Grill, 1105 E. Las Olas Blvd., $250 fine, not shut down, tables assembled at bar with seating.
Spazio Italian Restaurant, 239 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., $500 fine, shut down, repeat violation, Tables assembled at bar and not enforcing facial coverings.
Piazza Italia, 904 E. Las Olas Blvd., $15,000 fine, shutdown. Repeat violations.
Café Del Mar, 101 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach, Boulevard, $250 fine and shut down. Not wearing facial coverings, no social distancing, no signs posted.
Lucky’s Tavern, 214 SW 3rd Ave., $250 fine, shut down, operating as a bar. Bar establishment not allowed to open during Phase 1.
Noodles Panini, 821 E. Las Olas Blvd., $250 fine, not shutdown, using bar area, allowing customers to drink at bar.
Original Fat Cats, 320 SW 2nd St., $250 fine and shut down. Large crowd, no social distancing, no signage.
Poorhouse, 110 S.W. 3rd Ave., $250 fine, shut down. Large crowd, no social distancing, no signage.
Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar, 740 E. Las Olas Blvd., $250 fine, shut down, operating as a bar. Bar establishment not allowed open during Phase 1.