By Selene Raj
With Covid-19 cases, positivity rates, hospitalizations, and deaths continuing to rise, Broward County has issued a nine-day curfew to help minimize the risk of spreading the virus.
Broward Mayor Steve Geller announced the curfew on Tuesday, citing the current second wave and the anticipation of a spike in Covid-19 cases after the holidays, which have the potential to overwhelm local hospitals.
As it stands, only 13.4 percent of adult ICU beds are available in Broward.
Other local governments have imposed curfews around the country to limit the time and opportunity to gather with those outside of their household and minimize the risk of spreading the virus.
After Thanksgiving, Broward saw a spike in cases. Geller said they are anticipating an even worse spike in January.
In addition to those gathering for holidays, Geller cited an increase in travel from the Northeast and Latin America as a cause for concerns regarding the pandemic among several concerns regarding local hospitals’ ability to keep up with the rising cases.
“Even if you ignore the lack of bed space, we have a bigger issue in staff,” he said.
The curfew will be imposed daily, beginning the morning of Friday, December 25, and lasting until Monday, January 4, from midnight to 5:00 a.m.
There are two exceptions, on the mornings of Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, in which the curfew will begin at 1:00 a.m. rather than midnight.
Exemptions include active duty police, fire rescue, first responders, and people traveling to and from work.
Local police have not specified exactly how they plan to enforce the curfew. The Coral Springs Police Department plans to prioritize education and voluntary compliance over penalization but noted that citations could be issued depending on the individual situation.
Broward Sheriff’s Office has not specified their enforcement plans, nor does the emergency order.
Geller warned that one night of partying is not worth the risk it poses to individuals and the people they love.
“You are not only risking your own health, you’re risking the health of your family members, your friends, your community—please don’t.”
They’re begging people not to gather in large groups, but Geller emphasized they are not without hope about the coming months.
“It’s always darkest before the dawn. There is light at the end of the tunnel.”
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