Broward County commissioners are seeking new ways to enforce COVID-19 regulations, as they believe that not enough is being currently done to carry out the emergency orders that are in place.
“We’ve got to enforce our orders so that we don’t have to re-close the economy,” said Broward County Vice Mayor Steve Geller. Broward has been seeing at least 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 every day over the last several weeks.
The county currently has an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in place, and masks are required in public. But according to officials, only 85 citations have been given to people for not following those rules since June 1.
“It just seems to me that it is impossible to have that many positive cases and nobody is violating the emergency orders that are specifically intended to stop the transmission of the virus,” said Tim Ryan, a Broward County commissioner.
Some commissioners believe there has not been enough enforcement, or that communities may not be reporting all violations to the authorities. They have said they would hire more code enforcers to go to areas suspected to be problematic.
“At some point if we’re still finding that people are not really adhering to the policies, then we can enact a policy that Miami-Dade has, and that is you walk out the door, irrespective of what the situation is, a mask if you have it and if you don’t it’s a civil citation,” said Bertha Henry, another Broward County administrator.
According to the county’s emergency order, violators will get a warning for not wearing a mask in Broward before receiving a fine.
“It might make it easier for enforcement if it were something more stringent because at that point there should be no reason why you wouldn’t have it,” said Henry.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office said calls reporting large gatherings and late-night parties have gone down since the curfew was installed.
“There needs to be some example of people that will not follow these emergency orders no matter how many persons they place in jeopardy,” said Ryan.