Virus? What virus? Back to business as usual on Fort Lauderdale beach

Plenty of crowds out on Sunday, not many face masks

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The crowds packed into bars once again on Fort Lauderdale beach Sunday afternoon for the second straight day after Florida’s governor essentially lifted most COVID-19 based restrictions in the state on Friday. Fort Lauderdale beachgoers were plentiful, too.

What wasn’t in ample supply were face masks.

“It honestly looks like business as usual. It looks like how it was pre COVID,” Fort Lauderdale resident Coby Caven observed.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' three-page executive order issued Friday lifted occupancy on restaurants, allowed bars and nightclubs to open and suspended any enforcement on fines tied to facemasks.

“You can wear a mask and open up your economy. I mean it’s the one thing you can do that allows everything else to open up. He’s almost making it as hard as possible for us to open up safely,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber told Michael Putney on Local 10′s Sunday news program, “This Week in South Florida.”

While leaders in Miami-Dade County are seeking clarification on the new order, leaders in Broward County say bars still have to comply with social distancing requirements and capacity limitations.

Broward County issued a new executive order five hours after the governor on Friday, which states that bars still must comply with distancing requirements and capacity limitations. The order allows bars, pubs, nightclubs, adult entertainment establishments, banquet halls, breweries, cigar bars, and any other establishment that is licensed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations to sell food and/or alcohol to operate, provided they are in compliance with Attachment 2 of the county’s Emergency Order.

There are some restaurants in South Florida that are continuing with their COVID-19 precautions around town, it seems just not all of them.

Not much of that appeared to be happening Sunday on Fort Lauderdale Beach, including social distancing and the wearing of facemasks, which experts have said helps in staving off coronavirus.

RELATED: South Florida bars packed after Gov. gives OK for Phase 3 reopening

Miami Beach, Miami Mayor weigh in on easing of restrictions

(See Broward County’s most recent emergency order)

About the Authors:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.