Broward will expand its code enforcement if cities don’t police COVID-19 orders

Fort Lauderdale police were "quite busy this weekend" reporting businesses that weren't following Broward County's coronavirus orders, but other cities have been too light in their enforcement, county leaders say.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County leaders stressed enforcement yet again Tuesday as Mayor Dale Holness held a call with mayors of the county’s various cities plus doctors and members of the health department.

They believe that’s a key to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Broward.

“A part of what came out of this is that we ought to see more enforcement, so we can beat this virus and not have to shut our businesses down again,” Holness said.

The frustration at the county level was that some cities have been enforcing the emergency orders — sending code enforcement out and shutting down businesses when necessary — but others simply have not.

Cities like Pembroke Pines and Hallandale Beach showed no citations issued on the dashboard the county maintains, so the county is stepping in.

“We are pushing them to do more, but we are not going to just wait for them,” Holness said. “We will be sending crews out to work those cities from our code department because we can do that.”

Most of the citations issued so far have come out of Fort Lauderdale. Police there have teamed up to help code enforcement officers investigate and shut down parties or discipline businesses in the wrong.

“We were quite busy this weekend,” said Major Frank Sousa of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. “Our code team, I definitely have to speak to their efforts. We’re going out, we’re checking, we’re ensuring that they are complying.”

Other cities are stepping up, too, like Hollywood, which shut down 12 businesses over the weekend.

Meanwhile, Holness pointed out that family spread is still a significant problem.

“60% of the infection is being spread amongst families,” the county mayor said. “If you’re inviting friends and guests over, [wear] facial coverings [and practice] social distancing. That’s what works.”

On Tuesday, Broward’s COVID-19 case total increased by 1,601 to 42,577. The county’s death toll rose to 517 after five new deaths were reported.

Broward’s positivity rate for coronavirus tests processed Monday was at 15.1%, according to the health department, after rising to an alarming 17.6% for tests done the day prior.

About the Author:

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