MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Broward Mayor Dale Holness held a brief news conference on Wednesday afternoon to announce new measures to try to slow down the spread of the coronavirus in the county.

Broward restaurants will be facing new rules. The county does not want late-night party crowds treating restaurants like bars. Now they will have to close two hours earlier, at 10 p.m. and have no more than 6 people per table.

Businesses violating the order would have to close for 24 hours for the first violation and 72 hours for the second.

“Two hours less, we were at midnight now we’ll be at 10 o’clock. It’s gonna hurt a little bit, like I said we’re all relieved we can still keep the dining rooms open, we don’t have to go to take out only, yet,” said Chris Erisman, manager of El Camino Restaurant on Las Olas.

“We’re in uncharted territory. No one’s ever really been through this before. We understand that things are going to change a lot, we just have to do our best to keep following the rules, whatever they may be so we can stay open.”

As far as vacation rentals, only those registered at those rentals can actually be there.

Click here to read the emergency order

“We’ve seen a tremendous rise in the number of cases and an increase in the percentage of people testing positive. We have to do something to stem the increase,” said Holness.

“The issue of whether or not we close restaurants, we’re not going to close them. We’re going to require that each restaurant has no more than 6 people at a table and they close for in dining at 10 p.m. in the night.”

The new order also increases the consequences for businesses that don’t play by the rules.

“If we find an establishment who has violated the policy, they will be closed for 24 hours and each subsequent find of them violating will require 72 hours closure.”

Aside from restaurants, the emergency order also takes aim at vacation rentals.

“We know that many of these vacation rentals are being utilized as party places and the virus is being spread there. The requirement we have now is that only the people who have signed up to be in that vacation rental are to be there. No additional folks where you can have parties at these vacation rentals.”

Heiko Dobrikow runs the Riverside Hotel and several restaurants and bars. He says it’s up to everyone to do their part to make this work.

“I think some tougher restrictions are warranted and they need to happen. Hopefully, we’re going to be able to curb it down for the next two weeks and bring our numbers back in check and eventually go into phase two of the rollout to re-opening,” said Dobrikow.

Businesses will have to get on board with the new rules quickly.

The emergency order takes effect at 12:01 am on Friday morning.

Ted Scouten

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