BROWARD COUNTY: BUSINESSES CLOSE; NEW CORONAVIRUS HOTLINE OPENS
BY MARIE PULEO | NEWS REPORTER
BROWARD COUNTY BUSINESSES CLOSE: An order issued by Broward County requiring all non-essential retail and commercial businesses to close took effect today, as part of efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
In addition, Broward County has partnered with the Florida Department of Health in Broward County to open a special telephone line to assist in answering public questions about COVID-19. Call-takers can also conduct over-the-phone pre-screening for testing eligibility. Cases in which someone is deemed to meet the testing criteria will be referred to the Florida Department of Health, and will be given an appointment at a testing site.
The COVID-19 Call Center can be reached at 954-357-9500 and will be accepting calls from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week.
There is currently a local drive-through COVID-19 testing site in Pompano Beach, behind the behind the Festival Flea Market on Sample Road. Testing is by appointment only. There are also testing sites in Weston and Pembroke Pines.
According to the County’s order to close non-essential businesses, which was issued on Sunday evening, the following businesses are among the many that are considered essential:
– Grocery stores, supermarkets and convenience stores.
– Healthcare providers and public health operations, including hospitals, pharmacies, doctors’ offices, urgent care centers, eye care centers, physical therapists, mental health professionals, home healthcare services, research and laboratory services.
– Gas stations, automobile dealerships, auto-supply and auto-repair facilities.
– Banks and related financial institutions, including insurance firms.
– Hardware, gardening and building material stores.
– Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers.
– Businesses that primarily supply office products needed for people to work from home.
– Businesses primarily providing mailing, logistics, pick-up and shipping services, including post office boxes.
– Telecommunications providers, including sales of computer or telecommunications devices.
– Open construction sites, irrespective of the type of building.
– Architectural, engineering or land surveying services, but only for ongoing construction projects in which construction has already begun.
– Airlines, taxis and other providers of private transportation services via car, truck, boat, bus or train.
– Landscape and pool care businesses, including residential landscape and pool care services.
– Veterinarians and pet boarding facilities.
– Moving, storage and relocation services.
– Any business that employs five or fewer people (including management and ownership), where the employees do not come into regular contact with the general public in the regular course of business, and the business can conduct its operations in a manner that complies with the recommended social distancing.
The order stated that all retail and commercial businesses may perform remote work, so that employees interact with each other or customers only through electronic or telephonic means.
Broward County’s new restrictions are similar to those recently implemented by Miami-Dade County.
According to state figures, as of Sunday evening there were 217 cases of coronavirus in Broward County in people aged 17 to 96 years old, and there were three deaths. Miami-Dade had 227 coronavirus cases, and Palm Beach County had 72.
For more information regarding COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) website.