WEST PALM BEACH -- On Friday March 20, a press conference was held at the Palm Beach County Emergency Operations Center. Mayor Dave Kerner and officials provided an update of community actions identified in Executive Order 20-70 issued by Governor Ron DeSantis pertaining to the COVID-19 virus.
Palm Beach County declared a State of Emergency as on Friday, March 13. On March 19, the state of emergency was extended for an additional seven days. Our protective actions are a regional approach with Miami Dade (113 cases), and Broward (124 cases). As Miami Dade county invoked emergency protective measures, shutting down beaches, bars and large gathering areas could cause a wave of people to move north. Collectively Broward County leadership with Palm Beach County leadership discussed the impacts of people coming to our area and having a significant impact to our community.
Dr. Alina Alonso, director of the Florida Department of Health Palm Beach County said there are currently 34 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Palm Beach County, and it is extremely important to practice social distancing to reduce the spread of infection. Of the 34 confirmed local cases, 15 are travel-related, six non-travel related and 19 of an unknown source. She said to expect higher numbers of community spread cases in the county.
Executive Order 20-70 orders all beaches to close in Palm Beach and Broward counties. It orders all movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys, arcades, gymnasiums, fitness studios. This does not apply to gyms and fitness centers which are amenities of hotels, which have a capacity of 10 persons or less, or are an amenity of a residential building.
Executive Order 20-71 applies statewide and orders all restaurants and food establishments licensed under Chapters 500 and 509, Florida Statutes, to suspend on-premised food consumption for customers. Food establishment may operate their kitchens for purpose of providing delivery or take-out services. It also orders all vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises to suspend the sale of alcoholic beverages by the drink or in sealed containers for consumption on the premises. Such vendors may continue to sell alcoholic beverages in sealed containers for consumption off-premises.
County operations have been modified to minimize exposure to the public and employees. Many county services are available online, or through other communications. In an abundance of caution, some county facilities have been closed to public access to curb the spread of COVID-19. All businesses are essential in Palm Beach County and they maintain the quality of life for our community. Areas identified by the Executive Order in conjunction with local government identifies establishments that are conducive to large gatherings and will mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Please practice social distancing and washing of hands and take all other preventive actions identified by the Centers for Disease Control and the Florida Department of Health .
Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said there is no countywide curfew in Palm Beach County and no plans at this time to impose one. He said the Sheriff’s Office will not be releasing prisoners from jail, and all crimes, minor and major, will be investigated and perpetrators arrested. “It’s business as usual for us,” Bradshaw said. The sheriff added that eviction notices will not be served for at least 60 days. Lastly, he warned of fake Health Department officials knocking on doors and offering to do swab tests for $100. Please, do not become a victim of these scammers.
State Attorney Dave Aronberg noted some instances of price gouging have occurred. Please report any grossly inflated prices to 1-866-9NO-SCAM. (1-866-966-7226)
The Palm Beach County Property Appraiser’s Office and Tax Collector’s Office are closed to walk-ins, but online and phone services continue.
County Administrator Verdenia Baker said other county government service levels have been modified, as well. Persons who have temporarily lost their job can contact CareerSource Palm Beach County at CareerSourcePBC.com for assistance.