By Ty Russell

BROWARD (CBSMiami) – Broward leaders are warning owners of shops and restaurants, especially those in popular Downtown Fort Lauderdale and on the beach, to follow county orders.

“If business is not in compliance because they’re running the business, that they be shut down for 24 hours,” Broward Mayor Dale Holness said Monday.

Mayor Holness says the crackdown is happening because of an uptick in COVID-19 cases. He and close to 30 other mayors in the county discussed the plan on a conference call Monday afternoon.

“We have mandated since April 11th at 12:01 am that people wear masks. It’s not new. We’ve been doing it. We expect the public to comply,” the mayor said.

There’s no data giving leaders an idea where the hot spots are but they’ve noticed large crowds at restaurants and customers standing without face coverings. He said mangers seemed to have ignored the rules.

Holness said most leaders agreed the approach to rule breakers must change.

“The biggest concern if from restaurants and those restaurants that are acting like clubs, where there’s no mask wearing,” he said.

Last week on Tuesday, during a protest where bar owners demanded to reopen, one of them expressed her concern about restaurants basically transforming into nightclubs.

“It’s really not fair that other restaurants, when you’d dive down some of these streets, they’re so packed. They turned into bars,” the owner said.

The mayor said that’s about to change and if a bar is trying to act like a restaurant, they too will be shut down.

“If we find out they’re not in-compliance because they’re bending the rules, they’ll be shut down also,” the mayor said.

The county was able to see a low of less than two dozen cases at one point. But recently the county saw more than 500 additional cases in one day. The average age of someone getting the virus is getting younger. The mayor suggests everyone in the county wear a mask when you leave your home.

“By large, most people are but there are a few that are spreading this virus because they’re not taking the precaution to protect the community,” Holness said.

As law enforcement prepares to make sure the rules are being followed, they are also dealing with their own scares and confirmed cases.

Fort Lauderdale police said 13 people are on leave and two members of fire department are also on leave.

The county mayor and mayors from several cities will be at Broward Sheriff’s Office Wednesday at 11 a.m. for an official announcement about the crackdown.

Ty Russell

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