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Broward To Lift More COVID Restrictions Once 50 Percent Of County Has At Least First Vaccine Dose

A health worker injects a woman during clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine in Hollywood, Fla., last month.
A health worker injects a woman during clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine in Hollywood, Fla., last month.

County commissioners lifted restrictions on outdoor activities, like golfing, at their regular meeting Tuesday. They also agreed to start letting the public attend commission meetings in person again.

This post has been updated.

Broward County officials are looking to start lifting more local COVID regulations soon based on vaccination rates.

County commissioners voted to lift restrictions on outdoor activities, like golfing, at their regular meeting Tuesday. They also agreed to start letting the public attend commission meetings in person again and approved phase one of a reopening plan.

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The county will start lifting social distancing and capacity requirements at places like hotels if certain benchmarks are hit in Broward. Those include: a 50% vaccination rate for adults with at least their first shots and a COVID-19 positivity rate under 5% for 10 consecutive days.

More than 570,500 people in the county have at least their first shot as of early Tuesday morning, if not both already. Broward County officials anticipate hitting the 50% adult vaccination target within three weeks.

Mayor Steve Geller proposed the plan and says he spoke with Dr. Anthony Fauci before bringing it to the county commission.

"We cannot continue to keep our current orders in place without setting forth a way of opening. I think it should not be on arbitrary dates," Geller said. "I think it should be scientifically based and this is the best I could come up with."

Geller had two other phases in his three-phase plan but the commission voted, 7-2, to only approve phase one and then to wait and see before moving forward with the additional phases.

The mayor also consulted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — its guidance advises fully vaccinated individuals to keep taking precautions.

"We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions – like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces – in public places until we know more," the CDC website states.

The county is moving forward with a multimedia campaign across TV,and social media to encourage people who are hesitant to get vaccinated.

Three commissioners, including Commissioner Lamar Fisher who represents District 4, were in favor of getting rid of the county's pandemic emergency orders more broadly.

"The time has come, we gotta let it go so let's just bite the bullet, make the mask requirements we'll be doing in our commission meetings," Fisher said. "But folks, people are going to do what they want to do."

This post was updated to correct a spelling error.