The City of Fort Lauderdale cracked down on about a dozen restaurants and bars on Las Olas Boulevard Friday evening with a surprise compliance check to ensure businesses were following COVID guidelines.
As a result, action was taken against seven restaurants, and some bars were ordered to shut down.
Ten restaurants were found to be in compliance of guidelines, which include:
- Facility does not exceed 50% of maximum occupancy
- Tables are at least six feet apart
- Signage with COVID guidelines is displayed
- Servers are wearing facial coverings
- Patrons are not congregating at the bar area
Businesses that were found in violation of the guidelines included Tommy Bahama's Marlin Bar and Lucky's Tavern, which should not have been open.
Broward County is still in phase 1 of reopening, so bars should be closed. The two pubs were issued $250 fines and ordered to close.
Two other businesses, a night club called Original Fat Cats and The Poor House Bar, were also issued a $250 fine due to large crowds, no social distancing and no signage.
Noodles Panini and Piazza Italia were fined for allowing their patrons to use the restaurants' bar areas. Piazza Italia was fined $15,000 and ordered to shut down.
The compliance check was conducted by the City of Fort Lauderdale's Community Enhancement and Compliance Division.
In a press release, officials said the Division would continue to perform daily unscheduled inspections of businesses throughout the city.
On Saturday, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told NBC 6 he was considering implementing more stringent policies on the city's restaurants.
Suarez said that potentially, restaurants that violate public health guidelines could be forced to close for ten days after the first offense, 15 days the second time and 30 days if there is a third violation.
The additional measures ware being considered as Florida's coronavirus outbreak continues to see large daily spikes. A record-breaking 9,585 new cases were added to the state's tally Saturday morning, bringing the total count to 132,545.