As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, city commissioners in an emergency meeting Monday restricted how late businesses can remain open and limited capacity for gathering places.
Wilton Manors commissioners also empowered City Manager Leigh Ann Henderson with authority to take any necessary future actions regarding city closures on her own unless two commissioners disagree. In addition, the commission voted to appoint Commissioner Gary Resnick to serve in the absence of Vice Mayor Tom Green, should the need arise. The commission has been operating without a mayor since Mayor Justin Flippen died suddenly on Feb. 25 of a brain aneurism.
“These are not easy decisions,” said Commissioner Paul Rolli, who attended the meeting via phone. “We have a very large at-risk population because of the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. We really have to think about what we are going to do.”The new restrictions, effective March 17, are as follow:
Restaurants, bars and gyms must close at 10 p.m., but restaurants can do takeouts and deliveries of food after 10 p.m.
All businesses must have wipes and hand sanitizers available for customers and employees.Capped capacity of any facility that can host gatherings at 50 percent occupancy with a maximum of 50 people, effective through April 18. This restriction includes bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, churches, synagogues and other such facilities.Police Chief Paul O’Connell urged business owners to “trust but verify.”
He said businesses will be operating on the honor system because first responders cannot be placed at risk enforcing such orders.Added Commissioner Gary Resnick about the restrictions: “Instead of thinking about how much business you might be losing tomorrow, think about how many lives you might be saving.”Commissioners also voted to cancel any meetings in any public facilities through April 18. Last Friday, the city announced it was cancelling all city events, classes, and programs including the March yard sale, a concert at Mickel Park, Brunch with the Bunny, Woof & Wine, and the Mayor’s Chess Challenge.
The city is not be accepting any future facility bookings until further notice.Wilton Manors also cancelled its spring camp, school days out program, and after school program. Those who had signed their children up may call the city’s Leisure Services Department for a refund or credit. In addtiton all city community centers are closed including Hagen Park and Island City Park Preserve. The library is also closed. City Parks are still open regular hours but all park programming has been cancelled.
The Equality Park Garden Club has cancelled its plant fair scheduled for March 28-29 at Richardson Park.