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Are more coronavirus restrictions coming to Palm Beach County?

Infectious disease specialist says county should consider changes if numbers continue to rise
Posted at 6:45 PM, Nov 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 18:45:32-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Several states in the Northeast have announced restrictions as COVID-19 cases climb across the country, so could Florida -- and Palm Beach County -- be next?

Florida remains in Phase Three of Gov. Ron DeSantis' reopening plan, and most coronavirus-related restrictions have been lifted.

At Loic Bakery and Cafe Bar in downtown West Palm Beach, no one is allowed inside without a mask.

"We changed the way we were doing business," owner Loic Autret said.

Autret said safety is front and center. There's one entrance in and another exit out, constant cleaning and a large patio outside for customers to safely sit and eat, but the pandemic has been costly.

"So it's more expensive because people want to have on the plastic container, not on the plate, with a fork and knife like usually," Autret said.

Now more than ever, Autret said, every customer and sale counts.

But with COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and the positivity rate trending upwards again, doctors said Palm Beach County should start thinking about scaling things back, like others states up north.

RELATED: Dr. Alina Alonso says county should be prepared for 'additional control measures'

"I'm not talking about shutting down in any way, shape or fashion, but you have to consider that some restrictions need to be put in place if these numbers maintain," Dr. Leslie Diaz, an infectious disease specialist in northern Palm Beach County, told WPTV.

The county's code compliance and education team is still educating the public on wearing a mask, but with restrictions lifted at most businesses, its role is now limited.

"Still going out there on the weekends to let everyone know the county is still out there looking and trying to make sure everyone stays safe," team member Ramsay Bulkeley said.

With the holidays coming, Diaz also worries that, without more restrictions, the numbers will jump even higher.

"They need to start talking about it now of what is it that we can do as a county," Diaz said.

It's unclear if more restrictions could be coming in Palm Beach County, but some county commissioners have inquired what the options are at the local level. It will likely be discussed at Tuesday's commission meeting.