This morning, I signed a new emergency order in our community's battle against the COVID-19 virus. Employees and visitors to the interiors of essential businesses that remain open must wear some form of covering over their nose and mouth at all times.
Not only does this requirement apply to places like grocery stores and pharmacies, but it also applies to all person engaged in making deliveries. In addition, t
he order strongly encourages individuals to wear face coverings any time they are outside of their homes and residences.
The covering may be a face mask, homemade mask, scarf, bandana, handkerchief or similar cloth covering. Please do not use N95 or medical grade surgical masks as these are needed for health care professionals and emergency personnel.
This order will take effect at midnight the morning of Saturday, April 11, and will remain in full force through April 30.
We take this action in light of recent guidance by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The agency is encouraging people to wear face coverings in public settings, especially in areas where COVID-19 is being transmitted at higher rates.
The goal is to help prevent further spread of the virus and build upon the progress we are making through the earlier stay-at-home orders.
Health experts project that the next week or two weeks will be a critical point in the fight against this deadly and highly contagious virus in Florida. There are currently more than 2,600 people infected in the greater Fort Lauderdale community, with 72 deaths and almost 350 hospitalizations. We continue to see more than 100 new cases a day in the area.
Please continue to stay at home as much as possible, and please practice the critically important principles of social distancing and self-isolation. Working together, we can save lives and prevent infection. We all look forward to our community returning to normal. By taking these steps now, we can do so.