© 2023 WLRN
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
The latest updates on the COVID-19 outbreak in South Florida. This page ended its updates as of August 2020. Head here for additional stories on COVID-19 and the pandemic.

Fort Lauderdale Answers Questions About 'Safer At Home' Order During Tele-Town Hall

Andrews Ave.
Caitie Switalski
The Safer At Home Order in Fort Lauderdale is enforceable by a fine up to $500 or up to 60 days in jail.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis emphasized the need for people to stay at home during a tele-town hall via conference call with residents on Friday night. 

WLRN depends on donors to remain South Florida’s leading nonprofit, most trusted source of news and information. Support our mission by giving monthly as a sustaining member of Friends of WLRN or make a one-time donation of your choice. Thank you. Click here to give.


Trantalis signed a "Safer At Home" order Friday afternoon, directing people to stay home to practice social distancing if going to businesses deemed "essential."


"There are going to be some people who think that they can hang out at the beach or go to some of our parks, or just hang out on sidewalks. That activity, that conduct, has now been prohibited," Trantalis said on the call. "We realize that - unless you spell it out - sometimes people don't get it." 


However the order provides that people can still travel to do essential errands and be outside, to exercise:


"Residents may make use of all exterior portions of their homes, such as patios, porches, yards and driveways," the order states. 


With gyms closed, Trantalis said he is making sacrifices to social distance, while still making efforts to get fresh air. 


"I belong to a gym and I usually try to go most nights. Clearly, I can't do that so I've relegated my exercise now to jogging," he said. "There are ways you can still exercise, enjoy the outdoors. We've had absolutely gorgeous weather this past month and I anticipate the same in April, so we should all be able to still bask in the beauty we came here to live [for] - but just keep your distance."


The city's order, which as of now will last through at least April 16, goes further than the Safer At Home policy Broward County officials enacted Thursday. The county "strongly urged" people to stay at home, and away from each other to prevent further spread of the Coronavirus. However, Fort Lauderdale was one of several cities that felt the county's encouragment didn't go far enough.


Violators could face a fine up to $500 or up to 60 days in jail. 


"That's certainly not the goal ... It's in place in case we need it for those outliers," Fort Lauderdale City Attorney Alain Boileau told residents during the town hall call. 


Many municipalities in Broward County started enacting their own orders, to supplement the county's. 


The Broward League of Cities and the Broward County City Managers' Association (BCCMA) coordinated an effort Friday to get each of Broward's 31 municipalities to issue their more specific versions of stay-at-home orders. 


“Immediate action is required to protect as many residents as possible from becoming infected with the Coronavirus. The difference between flattening the curve and hospital overload depends on sheltering in place now, which is the intention of this unprecedented effort by the BCCMA,” said BCCMA President Greg Harrison, city manager of Pompano Beach.


Another large city to join Fort Lauderdale is Hollywood. Hollywood's order can be enforced by city law enforcement, through notices to appear or even arrest - and is in effect until further notice. 


Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy told WLRN Friday that even though some people may be aggravated by the order, he believes it will be worth it. 


"If we can accomplish another 20 percent of compliance by using stronger language then, from a community health standpoint … I think in the end, you know, we'll all be healthier and better for it,” Levy said.


WLRN has compiled a running list of all the stay-at-home orders across South Florida, here

Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, leads the WLRN Newsroom as Director of Daily News & Original Live Programming. Previously she reported on news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News.