Broward County Mayor Says Testing, Collaboration Key to Reopening

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Discussions are underway on how to reopen South Florida in phases, and one county mayor says the decision to reopen relies heavily on testing. 

Broward County Mayor Dale Holness is a part of Governor Ron DeSantis’ Task Force to Reopen Florida. He says South Florida as a region must consider different criteria for reopening because of the number of cases reported in each county. 

“When you look at Miami-Dade County with almost 10,000 cases that have tested positive, Broward County with 4,168, and Palm Beach County in the 2,000 range that’s a lot of people,” Holness said. 

Phase one of reopening in Broward County could include parks, golf courses and other public spaces. 

Making the decision on what will open next, he says will rely on testing. There are plans to begin antibody testing and the county is awaiting tests from the Governor’s Office. 

“He is going to get 100,000 of those antibody test and we would like to get a large number of those in Broward County so we can go out and sample different parts of the community, to determine cause for concern,” said Holness. 

Holness says reopening should be done in collaboration with other South Florida counties and cities. 

Monday, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez along with a task force composed of community leaders, physicians and others in Miami-Dade County, released the draft of reopening recommendations for certain public spaces that have been closed amid the coronavirus outbreak. As of right now, there is no timeline for the reopening of these spaces. 

Holness says in the later phases of reopening, they plan on looking for ways to open beauty salons, barber shops, and restaurants while still social distancing. 

“Having restaurants practice the social distancing in place and not open at full capacity, maybe operate at 25 to 50 percent capacity,” Holness said. 

Holness is hopeful once guidelines are set people will comply. 

“Yes we are going to have some rogue, who are not going to do exactly what we asked them to do, we’ll have to send the police out and let them know, hey you have to stop this, issue citations,” Holness said. “Most people have adhered and that is why the curve is flat and in some instances going down.” 

Holness plans on having further discussions with each municipality mayor Friday. 

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