FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County has instituted an 11 p.m. curfew that begins tonight, and gatherings at private homes are now limited to 10 people. Those are among the latest measures to help slow the spread of coronavirus, as county leaders try to avoid having to shut down businesses entirely.
The curfew will be in effect from 11 p.m. through 5 a.m. beginning Friday and through at least Aug. 1. Exemptions to the curfew include: active duty police, fire rescue, first responders, news media, delivery or transportation drivers, government employees, persons seeking emergency medical care and medical, health care and utility service personnel.
People are also allowed to travel to and from their workplace, return homes after commercial travel and walk their pets within 250 feet of their residence.
Also in the order, restaurants won’t be able to serve food or drinks from a bar counter.
People must wear facial coverings at all times while visiting a gym or fitness center, including while exercising.
And, effective Monday, vacation rentals won’t be allowed to operate unless they are actively managed on-site by owners. (All other parts of the order are effective immediately.)
“I’m imploring the public to take responsibility — personal responsibility — to safeguard the health and well-being of each other,” Mayor Dale Holness said at an afternoon news conference discussing the order, which was signed by County Administrator Bertha Henry.
Watch a replay of the mayor’s news conference below:
Broward County Mayor Dale Holness announces curfew and new rules
Broward Mayor Dale Holness is holding a news conference after the county issued a new emergency order calling for a nightly curfew, limits to gatherings at homes and other rules to slow the spread of COVID-19.Posted by WPLG Local 10 on Friday, July 17, 2020
County leaders have been discussing what measures to take as COVID-19 cases pile up and hospital space dwindles. Broward’s order doesn’t go as far as to shut down indoor dining at restaurants as Miami-Dade implemented. Miami-Dade has had a 10 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew in effect for two weeks.
Broward also announced a new dashboard tracking key coronavirus statistics within the county. (It can be seen by clicking here.)
Earlier Friday, Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony announced that his agency will be cracking down on large illegal house parties in Central Broward that have resulted in violence and can also multiply the risk of spreading COVID-19.
On Friday, Broward’s COVID-19 cases increased by 1,347 to 36,913, and the health department announced 13 new deaths in Broward, raising the death toll to 477 since the start of the pandemic.
This protestor was just arrested inside the Broward County Government Center for trespassing. He was ranting about the new emergency order violating his 4th amendment right.@WPLGLocal10 pic.twitter.com/8CjESiymkZ— Ian Margol (@IanMargolWPLG) July 17, 2020
“It looks grave from where we are,” Holness said Thursday.
Vice Mayor Steve Geller added: “We are running out of [hospital] bed space because all of these stupid people who insist it’s nothing worst than the flu are wrong. The flu doesn’t fill our intensive-care units.”
Local officials have tried pleading with residents to follow the existing orders to prevent another shutdown of businesses.
Read Broward’s full emergency order here: