By: Anne Geggis
Broward County residents are being urged to stay at home, as a “shelter-in-place” order was issued Thursday, taking effect at 12:01 a.m., Friday to slow the spread of the coronavirus that’s been cutting a deadly path across the globe.
“Individuals are strongly urged to remain home other than to engage in essential activities,” the order issued by County Administrator Bertha Henry states.
It isn’t much different from the order that shut down all nonessential businesses like hair salons, gyms, and movie theaters earlier this week. But local leaders want to emphasize the necessity of staying in place to prevent disease transmission, a county spokesman said.
Supermarkets, gas stations, liquor stores, and car dealerships are still allowed to operate, as long as the Centers for Disease Control guidelines are observed, particularly staying at least 6 feet apart from others. Outside exercise is also fine, as long as people stay more than 6 feet away from each other.
Making sure people comply will depend on individual cities, a county spokesman said. The Broward Sheriff’s Office, with jurisdiction in Tamarac and Parkland, will not be issuing citations. Coral Springs officials were still working out how to enforce the order, said Officer Chris Swinson, Coral Springs’ spokesman.
To start, enforcement would likely mean telling groups of more than ten people about the order against such gathering. But more specifics might be coming, he said Thursday afternoon.
“This is uncharted territory,” he said.
Tamarac city parks will be closed effective Friday, March 27, however, online classes are available. Also, community shuttle fares have been suspended until further notice.
Residents who need social services, such as assistance with food, can call (954) 597-3620 for information and referrals.
As of Thursday, counts from the Florida Department of Health Department show Broward County residents account for 485 of the state’s 2,355 COVID-19 cases.
- Anne Geggis has been a newspaper reporter for 30 years, most recently at the Sun Sentinel. She graduated from St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt., with a double major in journalism and sociology.
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