Emergency Order Sets Tougher Penalties for Broward Restaurants Violating Safety Guidelines

New order also limits restaurant tables to 6 people and closes restaurants for on-site dining at 10 p.m.

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Broward is cracking down on restaurants that violate coronavirus safety guidelines to help stem the spike in COVID-19 cases in the county.

An emergency order signed Wednesday by Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry would close any restaurant that violates rules on masks and social distancing for 24 hours, with each subsequent violation leading to a 72-hour closure.

Broward Mayor Dale Holness, who announced the order at a Wednesday evening news conference, said restaurants will also be required to keep tables to six people or less, and would close restaurants for on-site dining at 10 p.m.

"We've seen a tremendous rise in the number of cases," Holness said. "We have to do something to stem that increase."

In a July 1 emergency order, Henry limited on-site dining in restaurants to 5 a.m. to midnight. The order also required facial coverings in public when social distancing can't be practiced and facial coverings in businesses operating in the county.

The new order, which goes into effect Friday morning, also attempts to limit parties at vacation rentals, allowing no more than 10 people and only people who have signed up for the rental.

Broward County is getting ready to take steps back in order to curb the rise in COVID-19 cases. NBC 6's Steve Litz reports.

Broward's order didn't go quite as far as Miami-Dade's order, in which restaurants will be limited to outside dining, take out and delivery, while entertainment venues including theaters, concert halls, casinos and arcades will be shut down.

Decisions on closures in Broward come from Henry, but in Miami-Dade the mayor, Carlos Gimenez makes those calls.

As a strong mayor Gimenez is Miami-Dade’s chief executive, and is directly involved in the county’s day-to-day operations. Holness is not, leaving operations to the administrator.

"The county administrator is not elected, they are appointed by the commissioners, and is largely behind the scenes. Many people in Broward don’t even know who the county administrator is even though she’s occupied the office for 12 years," Barry University Professor Sean Foreman said.

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