MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Broward County officials are preparing an emergency order aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus.

Like Miami-Dade, Broward leaders are looking closely at restaurants.

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County Mayor Dale Holness said restaurants could be forced to close earlier than the current midnight closing time.

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He said some restaurants are being used by patrons as night clubs or bars.
They’re also looking at more possible restrictions at gyms and vacation rentals.

That emergency order may be issued as early as Wednesday.

“What we find is in the evening time people will go in there and party. That’s really what it comes down to. Clubs and bars are closed so they’re using the restaurants as clubs and bars,” said Broward Mayor Dale Holness.

Mayor Holness spoke to mayors from around the county. He said they want to see restrictions to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

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“We found that many restaurants not following the rules of the guidelines. They’re allowing patrons in without facial covering and after hours they allow folks to drink and have a party inside the restaurant,” said Mayor Holness.

“It’s frustrating. You know, we put up plastic barriers, we spent a lot of money to redo the restaurant,” said Josh Perfit of El Camino Restaurant on Las Olas.

Perfit is the restaurant’s general manager. He said they have been playing by the rules and if they have to close earlier, they will definitely feel it.

“If it’s 10 o’clock, it’s going to hurt us, that’s usually our busiest hour, 10-11 is usually our busiest hour right now. So, it will affect us. It will hurt our business,” Perfit said.

Jonathan Larkin owns Upload Fitness in Fort Lauderdale. He said they too are following the rules and have put procedures in place.

“Considering that our traffic is down about 50%, there’s plenty of room in between machines. You have to keep 6 feet separation. We have signs between every machine so nobody is ever close to one another,” said Larkin.

Aside from gyms and restaurants, county leaders are also looking at vacation rentals.

“What we’re finding is that now they’re being rented for parties for local folks. So you can’t go to a club, you get a vacation rental and you create a party. That has to stop,” said Mayor Holness

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Mayor Holness says something else you should expect to see is stepped-up enforcement to make sure that everyone’s following the rules.

Ted Scouten