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Florida county sheriff has already issued more than 200 citations while cracking down on gatherings

Andrew Cuomo

Florida’s Broward County sheriff says he’s got no plans to end an operation cracking down on large gatherings, which has already resulted in more than 200 citations.

The operation’s goals were two-fold, Sheriff Gregory Tony said in a virtual news conference Wednesday: to reduce the large gatherings that were taking place and to crack down on “roving car clubs” that were bringing dozens of young people together throughout certain parts of the community.

There have been more than 1,100 calls of service about parties and social gatherings, the sheriff said.

In the two weeks since the operation was launched, Tony says police have responded to at least 13 different gatherings or parties and issued more than 260 different citations.

“Anytime we’re having large gatherings of 100, 150 plus people, it’s crystal clear that we’re not seeing a compliance with the CDC recommendations and therefore more people will contract this virus,” the sheriff said.

“We have no interest at this point in time to discontinue having this type of enforcement operation,” he said.

Broward County borders Miami-Dade County, which has been called by some experts the country’s new coronavirus epicenter, with overwhelmed hospitals and maxed out ICUs sounding the alarm over the rise in patients. And in the last week, sick Floridians seeking treatment in Miami-Dade County spilled over to the neighboring county’s hospitals.

And across the state, the daily number of coronavirus-related deaths broke a record Wednesday for the second day in a row.

During his news conference, the sheriff urged the use of face masks, asking residents in the community to take a “common sense approach.”

“It’s not about the individual person anymore,” Tony said. “When you don’t wear a mask when you don’t comply, you are potentially exposing someone else. So it’s not simply about what you can do for yourself as well what you can do for other people that you don’t even know.”

He said several businesses who weren’t following coronavirus guidelines were shut down for at least a day or fined.

“We do need to get better compliance out of our community, they need to take on a greater deal of social responsibility. If not, we will be out there enforcing, citing, and writing notices,” the sheriff said.

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