BY MARIE PULEO | NEWS REPORTER
On Friday afternoon, Broward County cities began issuing stay-at-home orders in an effort to stop the dangerous spread of the coronavirus.
Pompano Beach, Lighthouse Point and Lauderdale-By-The-Sea are among the cities that have issued the “Safer-at-Home” emergency declarations. The stay-at-home orders are mandatory, with exceptions for certain activities.
As of this writing, Deerfield Beach has not yet released a similar order. According to a high-level source, the City is working on one. As per the City’s website, Deerfield Beach will be observing similar stay-at-home guidelines, although no official declaration has been issued by the City.
The emergency orders take effect at 12:01 a.m. on March 28, 2020 (Friday night), and will remain in place until further notice.
Friday’s declarations differ from the shelter-in-place order issued by Broward County on Thursday, which was voluntary.
The decision to issue the individual city stay-at-home orders was organized by the Broward County City Managers’ Association (BCCMA), in partnership with the Broward League of Cities, both of which work to coordinate and enhance efforts among Broward County’s 31 municipalities.
“Immediate action is required to protect as many residents as possible from becoming infected with the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The difference between flattening the curve and hospital overload depends on sheltering in place now, which is the intention of this unprecedented effort by the BCCMA,” said BCCMA President Greg Harrison, who is also the Pompano Beach City Manager.
Lighthouse Point Mayor Glenn Troast said the order “is not intended to be punitive; it’s intended to help people be safer, and at the same time, there’s an education process you have to go through to make sure people understand it.”
If there’s a real problem, police discretion will be used as to how to handle it, said Troast.
If necessary, police can enforce the order by issuing a Notice to Appear or by arrest. The City can also issue Code Violations and Notices of Violation.
Pompano Beach and Lauderdale-By-The-Sea will enforce their orders in a similar manner.
The orders issued by Pompano Beach, Lighthouse Point and Lauderdale-By-The-Sea state that “each resident is hereby ordered to stay home and within the entirety of their owned or rented property. The order to stay at home does not require residents to confine themselves to the interior of their homes. Residents may make use of all exterior portions of their homes such as patios, porches, yards, and driveways.”
Residents and visitors can travel to essential businesses and provide minimum basic operations to non-essential businesses. All essential businesses are strongly encouraged to remain open.
Businesses may also continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences.
Residents and visitors can also travel to and from their residences to obtain assistance from law enforcement, fire-rescue, or other emergency services; to care for or support a friend, companion, family member, pet or livestock, support groups, or a vulnerable person.
In areas not otherwise closed by a separate emergency or executive order, residents may engage in outdoor activity and recreation while staying six feet apart from another person or group of people, and as long as groups are no more than 10 people.
Residents and visitors can continue to perform work for and in support of businesses authorized to be open to the public.
Public transit may be used for the activities outlined in the orders. People riding on public transit must comply with social distancing requirements to the greatest extent feasible.
Residents and visitors may travel to and from places of worship. Places of worship must comply with social distancing requirements, and are encouraged to livestream their services in lieu of in-person gatherings.
Unless a person is in engaging in a permissible activity as outlined in the orders, no person is allowed to travel or be in any public right-of-way, including public or private beaches, streets, canals, waterways or sidewalks, within the boundaries of the city.
Government employees and emergency personnel are exempt from the city orders.
The orders issued by Pompano Beach and Lighthouse Point outline specific guidelines that essential businesses must follow pertaining to cleaning protocols and employee screening.
The screening guidelines include prohibiting employees from entering work premises if they have returned from, or have been in contact with someone who has returned from, international travel or a cruise in the last 14 days. Employees can also be denied access if they have been in any gathering of 50 or more people in the last 14 days; traveled to any cities with high numbers of coronavirus cases; or exhibited any of the coronavirus symptoms.
The strict cleaning guidelines for essential businesses include hourly disinfection of all check out areas, conveyor belts, cash registers, credit card areas and public door handles; disinfection after each customer uses a pen, stylus or screen to sign a receipt, or waive the need to sign a receipt; and daily disinfection of all areas of a business that customers may touch or come into contact with. Employees will also be required to wash and/or disinfect their hands at least once per hour.
The order issued by Pompano Beach also strongly urges Individuals experiencing homelessness to obtain shelter, and governmental and other entities are strongly urged to make such shelter available as soon as possible and to the maximum extent practicable (and to utilize social distancing requirements in their operation).
Fort Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Wilton Manors, Hillsboro Beach, Coral Springs, Parkland, Margate, Plantation and Weston are among the other Broward cities that have issued stay-at-home orders.
Lighthouse Point Mayor Glenn Troast said: “Government can’t control everything. There’s an element of self-responsibility that needs to occur as well.”
As of Friday night, an update from the Department of Health showed there were 3,198 coronavirus cases in Florida. In Broward County there were 631 cases, 10 deaths and 88 hospitalizations.
For more information regarding COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) website.
For more Pompano Beach, Lighthouse Point and Deerfield Beach news including BROWARD COUNTY SHELTER-IN-PLACE GUIDELINES go to our website.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”10010″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row]