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Mayor: Broward Restaurants to Remain Open with Tighter Rules

Broward County has a revised plan to combat the growing number of coronavirus cases.

On Wednesday, officials announced that instead of again closing restaurants to cope with the spread of the disease, they will merely tighten restrictions.

To that end, restaurants will be required to limit tables to six people for indoor dining, and must close by 10 p.m., under an order from County Administrator Bertha Henry.

Mayor Dale Holness said the new policy will take effect this Friday.

In addition, restaurants that violate the order will be closed for 24 hours. Each additional violation will require the business to close for another 72 hours.

Fines could end up being as high as $15,000.

Vacation rentals also will have stricter rules, since they are being used to host parties.

The order will require that only the people who signed up for the rental be allowed there.

“If we don’t take all take responsibility to reduce the spread of this virus, what will happen is that the economy will continue to get worse because people are not going to be comfortable going out to dine,” Holness said.

If the restrictions do not ultimately stop the rise in numbers, Holness said county officials could tighten enforcement, increase fines and close other businesses.

He added that the order will remain in place until there is a drop in cases.

Holness said earlier this week that more than 50 percent of complaints the county receives on its 311 hotline are regarding restaurants not following rules.

Palm Beach County has not announced any similar closures at this time, although Mayor Dave Kerner said he could not say what may happen in the coming days.

Broward’s beaches opened last Monday after being closed for the Fourth of July weekend.

Florida recorded nearly 9,989 new cases of the coronavirus and 48 more deaths on Wednesday.

Locally, Broward has 23,781 confirmed cases and 419 deaths. Palm Beach County has 18,231 confirmed cases and 569 deaths.