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DeSantis orders major shutdown of beaches, businesses in Broward, Palm Beach

Movie theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, gyms, beaches, bars and more will all be affected.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order Friday calling for strict closures of beaches and businesses in Broward and Palm Beach counties. The restrictions are much broader than what he has ordered statewide thus far.

The closures apply to “all movie theatres, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys, arcades, gymnasiums, fitness studios and beaches” in those two counties, according to the release from the governor’s office. The order will be in effect until March 31. However, they can be renewed at that time with a written request from the county administrators.

The two counties’ governments will “have the ability to enforce, relax, modify or remove these closures as they see fit,” the news release from the governor’s office said.

Additionally, all bars, nightclubs and restaurants with seating for more than 10 people must close their on-premises services, and can only operate their kitchens for take-out or deliveries.

The closure order does not apply to grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations or convenience stores.

DeSantis, speaking in Broward County Thursday evening, said he would be issuing the order for Broward and Palm Beach counties Friday morning. The order would be similar to restrictions issued in Miami-Dade County, he said, and would be made in consultation with local officials. He said additional closures were necessary in those counties because of community spread of the coronavirus.

“That’s based off the recommendations of local officials but also the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommendations, that when you do have community spread, then there’s additional items that should be on the list,” he said. “Southeast Florida is the epicenter of what we’re fighting in Florida, so we want to work constructively with the local folks.”

Times/Herald Tallahassee reporter Lawrence Mower contributed to this report.

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