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Broward leaders talk beaches, bars — and stiff fines for people not wearing masks

Keeping positivity rate at 5% could be key to bars and nightclubs reopening

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County continues to see encouraging trends in its coronavirus numbers, but with the Labor Day holiday weekend approaching, local leaders have actually decided to up the ante.

$100 Fines will be coming for people not wearing masks indoors or near others, with code enforcement out patrolling.

That was decided Friday as Broward Mayor Dale Holness held another meeting with the city mayors from across the county.

“We now have to prepare for the holiday weekend coming up, which means we’re going to see a lot of people coming into town,” Holness said. “We want to make sure that they’re socially distancing and wearing facial coverings.”

Holness says Broward’s beaches will stay open through Labor Day weekend (the holiday is Sept. 7) but those mask fines will be enforced. The county had been on more of a warning system.

The mayors also discussed when Broward might be ready to take the next step in relaxing restrictions.

“The conversation turns to, ’When are we going to Phase 2?” Holness said with a smile. “We’re not there yet.”

Holness said that if the county can maintain a 5% positivity rate for at least a couple weeks, they can start to talk about reopening bars, nightclubs and even playgrounds.

Broward’s positivity from Thursday’s testing was at 4.87%. The county has a 7-day positivity rate of 5.13% and a 14-day positivity rate of 6.2%, according to Friday’s data from the Florida Department of Health.

“There could be a resurgence of the virus in September or October,” Holness said. “We want to make sure that if that does occur, that we’re at the very lowest point we can be.”

County resident Max Martin is among those who have noticed a difference in the way people have responded to stopping the spread.

“What we’re doing is working,” he said, “and I think we need to continue to do that for the time being.”


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