With airports and bars packed ahead of Thanksgiving, local officials in South Florida have expressed concern that the state's coronavirus outbreak will worsen throughout the rest of the holiday season.
Broward County Mayor Steve Geller said that with Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza and New Year’s celebrations coming up, as well as holiday shopping, "We know that these are all super-spreader events and that during this time period, we are unfortunately expecting for COVID-19 to explode."
Geller also spoke out about the closing down of the Wharf in Fort Lauderdale, a bar that had reopened just two days prior. Videos on social media showed it packed, full of people without masks not practicing social distancing.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has not issued a statewide mask mandate, but Geller says Broward's local emergency order still grants officials the ability to fine people.
"The governor has suspended our ability to collect on those fines until the emergency order ends," Geller said, "but he is not taking away our ability to continue to fine people, and we will collect on them afterwards."
Florida added more than 6,300 new confirmed COVID-19 cases Monday, as the state's virus-related death toll rose by 94. In Broward County, there were 101,747 COVID-19 cases reported, a daily increase of 688, along with 1,629 virus-related deaths, three more than in Sunday's report.
Both Miami and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood international airports saw significant increases in passenger traffic as Thanksgiving approached, a trend that was also seen across the country despite CDC urges to stay home to celebrate the holiday.