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Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner discussing when county should move to second phase of reopening

'My personal perspective is that we are ready to consider moving to Phase Two'
Posted at 5:34 PM, Aug 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-18 17:45:35-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — For Peter Kisgen opening his own business in Northwood Village was a dream come true.

“It’s eclectic, it’s artsy. It’s rich of colors and beautiful places,” Kisgen said.

It’s called Old Metal Classics Cafe and More, but Kisgen said they’re still somewhat the new kids on the block.

“We just came into appreciation that people know us and come to us,” he said.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic caused a devastating decline in business.

“We have lost about 75 percent of our business,” Kisgen said.

Still, he says he’s in no rush to fully reopen.

“Normally, we can sit 50 people inside, we are down to 25 now and the outdoor seating is 6-feet apart— the tables,” he said. “I would say right now everything is good the way it is.”

However, COVID-19 cases are down across the state, at its lowest level since early June. In fact, on Monday Palm Beach County reported a 5.7 percent positivity rate, the lowest we've seen in weeks. Data that caught county Mayor Dave Kerner’s eye.


“The governor reminded me that this county’s positivity rate, which is the direct reflection of the amount of coronavirus in our community, is actually lower than over half the county’s in the state,” Mayor Kerner said.

Kerner said he’s not concerned the number of reported COVID-19 tests are also dropping.

"So what happens is there’s a transition to where people who are symptomatic or concerned get tested only and even with that we still have a low positivity rate,” he said.

As for moving to Phase Two, the mayor said all commissioners would have to vote to send a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis for final approval.

“My personal perspective is that we are ready to consider moving to Phase Two,” he said. “How that phase looks like is more important to me than the yes or no question of moving to Phase Two. I can tell you there is some hesitancy on my behalf to open on bars and Phase Two.”

Mayor Kerner said he expects the conversation on moving to Phase Two, to continue at the county’s next commissioner meeting on Aug. 25. He said he also plans to meet with Palm Beach County School District Superintendent Donald Fennoy later this week to discuss how they can work together to safely reopen brick and mortar schools.