Today, the city of Fort Lauderdale acted in concert with the city of Miami Beach to take additional measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus. We join together because of the need to address the large Spring Break crowds gathered in both communities.
Last night, Gov. DeSantis and state health officials announced that positive cases of COVID-19 continue to rise. The state of Florida now has more than100 cases, a third of which are in Broward County.
The number of local cases has tripled since Friday and now includes adults of all age ranges and people with no travel history. Health officials indicate these are signals that our community is now experiencing social spread of the virus.
If we are to continue to be serious about flattening the curve of the spread of the coronavirus, we have to take bold, yet responsible measures to limit large gatherings.
As I said on Friday, this is not a time to panic, nor is it a time to sit idly by. This is a time for clear and decisive action.
Beginning today and continuing through April 12, the city of Fort Lauderdale will close the dry sand portion of our public beach from Harbor Drive north to Oakland Park Boulevard.
Closing our beaches decreases the amount of public safety resources needed to interact with the high-density Spring Break population. That reduces exposure for our police and first responders so they can continue to carry out their important life-saving duties should the situation become more widespread. It also increases social distancing, a key deterrent to the spread of the virus.
We are also requiring all bars and restaurants close at 10 p.m. In addition, all public gatherings of any type of more than 250 people will be prohibited with the exception of retail establishments, grocery stores, Broward County government, the Broward County School District, the North Broward Hospital District, and agencies of the state and federal government.
Bars and restaurants must operate at no more than 50 percent of their allowed capacity, again no more than 250 people total.
These measures are being put in place for the protection of our community, residents, visitors and employees in a continued effort to stay ahead of this pandemic and help stem the tide of its spread.
These decisions were made in close consultation with surrounding communities – in particular Miami Beach. I would like to thank Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber for this coordinated approach. Both of our cities face similar challenges given the tremendous amount of national and international visitors we host this time of year.
I also spoke to Gov. DeSantis. He is supportive of these measures, and I appreciate his efforts on our behalf.
Let me emphasize that we are all in this together. The key to fighting the coronavirus lies with everyone doing their part to be responsible and supportive neighbors. Our strategy is to limit the spread of the virus by limiting public gatherings and practicing social distancing.
We must do everything possible to minimize crowds. Unfortunately, our beaches must be part of our plan. I want to be clear that this is not an overreaction, but a way for us to help stop further cases of coronavirus in our community. We must all do our part to save lives, and that includes protecting our residents, visitors and first responders.
We remind everyone that if you are concerned that you have been exposed to coronavirus, please call the Florida Department of Health in Broward County at 954-412-7300 and your healthcare provider before going to any healthcare facility.
If you have questions related to the coronavirus, please call the Florida Department of Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-779-6121 which is available 24 hours a day seven days a week or email