Coronavirus | Featured Stories

Fort Lauderdale Reverses Course, Tells Gyms “Close or Risk Fines”

The City of Fort Lauderdale is reversing course on its gym reopening policy.

Gym owners in the city could now be risking fines of $15,000 a day if they decide to open.

On Monday, city officials gave gyms permission to open, but are now advising them to remain closed until Broward County declares they can return to business.

Broward officials issued an order last week stating that gyms are to remain closed until further notice.

Nonetheless, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis signed an executive order on Saturday night that allowed gyms in that city to open.

He cited an order by Gov. Ron DeSantis stating that fitness centers across Florida could open as long as they follow safety rules and operate at 50 percent capacity.

Now, Broward Vice Mayor Steve Geller warns that gyms that dare to open would be in violation of the county order, bringing on a $15,000 daily penalty.

“It’s almost like they want to show who’s boss here,” Trantalis says of county officials.

Gyms that opened on Monday do not need to worry about being fined just yet.

“We felt it would be unfair to fine them,” Geller explains, citing the contradictory city and county orders.

However, county officials will send letters to gyms that opened, informing them they are violating the county order and could be fined if they do not close.

“We expect gyms to open sometime next week as long as they follow safety protocols,” Geller said. “We brought in a doctor [at Tuesday’s county meeting] who said gyms should require a 10-foot separation between machines or put up plastic separation or have people wear masks. All we are trying to do is follow safety protocols.”

Fort Lauderdale Challenges Broward County’s Order to Keep Gyms Closed