Restaurants will remain open in Broward, but must stop serving at 10 p.m. each day and limit the number of people per table to six patrons beginning Friday, County Mayor Dale Holness announced at a Wednesday news conference.
The announcement comes on the heels of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez shutting down indoor dining at restaurants and only allowing outdoor dining.
With the number of new cases and deaths continuing to soar in the state — especially in South Florida — both mayors say it’s necessary to backtrack on some openings to curb the spread.
“We have seen a tremendous rise in the number of cases and the percentage of people testing positive,” Holness said. “We have to do something to stem that increase.”
Florida’s Department of Health on Wednesday confirmed another 9,989 cases of COVID-19 in the state — the fourth-highest single-day total recorded since the pandemic began in March. The state now has 223,783 confirmed cases.
Florida’s highest single-day total was recorded Saturday, with 11,458 cases.
On Wednesday, Miami-Dade and Broward accounted for 4,102 of those newly confirmed cases. Eleven more people in Miami-Dade and one more in Broward died, according to the health department. The two counties are responsible for 1,487 deaths of the state’s 3,889 total.
The increases led to the start of South Florida officials’ taking a look at measures to decrease the amount of cases including requiring masks in all public spaces.
Broward follows Miami-Dade
Wednesday’s new emergency order in Broward comes after Gimenez’s order on Tuesday that goes into effect Thursday. Restaurants in Miami-Dade that had been opened with restrictions are to close indoor seating areas again.
Gym owners in Miami-Dade, however, lobbied against Gimenez’s original plan to close the facilities. To stay open, the gyms also have new restrictions, such as masks must be worn indoors while exercising.
I signed Amendment 2 to Emergency Order 26-20, prohibiting indoor dining at restaurants in Miami-Dade County, effective this Thursday. On-site dining can only take place outdoors. Only take-out & delivery service may be offered during nightly curfew hours of 10 pm & 6 am. (1/2)
— Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez (@MayorGimenez) July 8, 2020
Starting Thursday in Miami-Dade, restaurants must close all inside dining. Outside dining will be at tables limited to four patrons and no more, even if they are from the same family. Takeout and delivery services will be allowed.
In Broward County, alcohol sales in restaurants must stop from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.. Restaurants must stop serving food at 10 p.m. Delivery, drive-through and pickup are still available. If a restaurant violates the order, they will be shut down for 24 hours for the first offense and 72 hours for subsequent offenses.
Holness also addressed short-term rentals Wednesday, saying that no more than 10 people are allowed on a property. Also, only the people who have signed up for the rental can be there.
“We’re aware that there are parties being held at these vacation rentals, and again, that’s a big issue for us,” Holness said.
Holness hopes the new order helps: “If it doesn’t work, we’re going to have to find some way of tightening and increasing fines and enforcement.”