Broward County closes non-essential businesses amid coronavirus pandemic

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Broward leaders have ordered all non-essential businesses in the county to close starting Monday.

Broward County Mayor Dale V.C. Holness made the announcement at a news conference held at the Broward County Emergency Operations Center in Plantation, Sunday evening.

“Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Executive Order 2070 allows for Broward County to issue Emergency Order 2001 today, closing all non-essential retail and commercial businesses located in Broward County, in all of Broward County,” said Holness.

The closures went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday.

Holness said the executive order will allow essential businesses to remain open. They include:

  • grocery stores
  • pharmacies
  • gas stations
  • banks
  • media
  • health care providers
  • equipment suppliers
  • doctor’s offices
  • urgent care facilities
  • mental health professionals
  • social services
  • whole healthcare service providers
  • car dealerships

For a complete list click here

Moreover, Holness said, the executive order will allow non-essential businesses to perform basic minimum operations, such as taking inventory, preserving equipment, ensuring security and processing payroll. They are also permitted to have employees work remotely.

“We will need to adapt as we go forward,” said Holness.

Holness said this is not a decision he made lightly.

“While these are incredibly painful steps to take, with devastating short-term and long-term impacts on our community, the potential impacts of COVID-19 to our residents and visitors is much more devastating,” he said.

Business owners have been abiding by the order put in place resulting in very different, usually busy, neighborhoods.

Kimbo Kaupas said Freddie’s Anchor Sports Grill in Fort Lauderdale is “hanging in there,” despite empty tables and an empty bar.

“They’re just like all the other establishments in the same predicament, and we want to let you know that we are open curbside service, pickup, take-out,” she said. “Support your local businesses, we appreciate you very much.”

Chris Brown is one of many Las Olas residents who came out to get some fresh air, exercise, walk their dogs or grab some coffee.

“Of course, there’s no traffic, no pedestrian traffic,” said Brown. “Nothing really is open.”

Some of the restaurants in the area had been closed for several days, but now, it’s official.

“We must take every responsible action that we can,” said Holness.

Also on hand at Sunday’s news conference was Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony. He asked the community to work together during this time of uncertainty.

“This is truly a social responsibility where we all need to be involved,” he said.

The mayor said the order will be in effect until the end of the state of emergency.

This order was put in place shortly after Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced similar closures in his county.

Many business owners and customers are wondering what the future holds.

“The impact will be felt for, unfortunately, years to come, I’m afraid,” said Brown.

Broward County has created a local hotline in conjunction with the Florida Department of Health to answer any questions related to COVID-19, as well as pre-screening for testing eligibility. That number is 954-357-9500. It will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can also call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.

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