Hollywood Addresses Lack of Social Distancing at Restaurants Over the Weekend

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On Saturday night about midnight on Hollywood Boulevard, NBC 6 saw what could have been a scene well before anyone ever heard of COVID-19. The music was going, the drinks flowing, and people were sitting and enjoying a meal.  

Trouble is, that wasn’t the intent of the official order from Broward County in the middle of May allowing restaurants to reopen.

“They need to be following Broward County Emergency Orders and CDC guidelines," Joann Hussey, the public information officer for the City of Hollywood, said after reviewing the footage taken by NBC 6.

The order has rules such as six feet between tables and caps on the number of people that could be seated.

“I did see the video, and it is an indication that people are not really doing what they are supposed to be doing, but it's also an indication that more education on the city’s part with business owners needs to take place,” Hussey said.

Police officers were there that night, but the city explained it's not the officer’s job to make sure the business are following the guidelines.

“The police department is focused and on safety and keeping the community safe," Hussey said. "Code Compliance per Broward County Emergency Order is really the responsible party to ensure that people are doing what they are supposed to be doing."

The new rise in COVID cases are prompting leaders to urge businesses and residents to follow CDC guidelines. But across Hollywood Boulevard, Midtown Miami, and Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale -- cameras captured people ignoring these coronavirus restrictions. NBC 6's Willard Shepard reports.

What NBC 6 saw in Hollywood was one example of what was seen in other places like Midtown Miami and in Fort Lauderdale.

“I do worry that people aren’t being as careful as they should be," said Dr. Wael Barsoum, the Chief Executive Officer of Cleveland Clinic. "This is not over, and we need to be thoughtful, if in fact we do want our economy to reopen. We have to be thoughtful about it. We need to be cautious. We need to keep that distancing. We need to be masked when we are in public. Those are really absolute key issues."

The city of Hollywood is now moving forward with reeducating restaurants of the code compliance. Officers will be going door to door out here telling them what’s expected.

Since officers can’t be everywhere, doctors says it's also up to the individual to comply to CDC guidelines. With the recent protests, medical experts don't recommend going out in mass gathering, but they do note that the vast majority of marchers are wearing masks.

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