This story has been updated with new information on court hearings at 6 p.m. on Friday March 13.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis declared a local state of emergency in the city Friday afternoon, as a measure to try to slow the spread of Coronavirus, or COVID-19.
As of Friday afternoon, Broward County has 11 positive cases of COVID-19. Of those, four are not travel-related, one is travel related, and six cases are under investigation. Broward is emerging as the epicenter of the virus in Florida, with more cases than other counties in Florida, according to testing results released by the Florida Department of Health.
Fort Lauderdale's state of emergency lasts for at least the next 30 days, through April 12. It follows the state of Florida's, as well as Broward County's announced earlier this week. The city's declaration sets some restrictions in place for residents.
"We must be prepared to change our way of life for a while," Trantalis said.
The City of Fort Lauderdale's state of emergency includes:
- The city is prohibiting all public gatherings of more than 250 people.
- That includes all city events, approved special events, city commission meetings, all city recreational programs and all organized sports leagues.
- All future performances at The Broward Center for the Performing Arts are suspended, effective immediatley.
- The NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale will remain open with normal hours for visitors, but will cancel all planned large events through April 17. The Museum of Discovery and Science will also remain open, but cancel its Food and Wine event Friday night.
- The 17th judicial circuit has suspended all jury duty for the next two weeks, through March 27. Nearly all face-to-face hearings across the state will also be suspended for two weeks, according to an order issued late Friday by Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady. If you have a question about a local case or jury duty after that, call the Broward jury room hotline: (954)-831-7051
- Mayor Trantalis has also ordered all public places, including retail, businesses and restaraunts to have alcohol-based hand sanitizer for patrons and employees to use upon entry and exit. If establishments do not comply, Trantalis said the city will enforce the order with a citation and a yet-to-be-determined fine.
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