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24 Palm Beach County businesses shut down for violating coronavirus rules, officials say

52 additional businesses issued warnings by COVID-19 Education and Compliance Team
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Posted at 12:25 PM, Aug 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-07 18:09:16-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — At least 24 businesses in Palm Beach County have been ordered closed because they've violated safety rules related to the deadly coronavirus, officials say.

During a news conference on Friday afternoon, Mayor Dave Kerner said the county's COVID-19 Education and Compliance Team has conducted thousands of inspections since the middle of June to make sure businesses are following all county and state regulations and operating in a safe manner.

"They go out almost every night or every day," Kerner said.

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Kerner said the COVID-19 Education and Compliance Team has given out 52 warnings to businesses, and 24 businesses have been shut down because they weren't allowed to be open in the first place.

"While they may have been technically operating in a safe manner, the Phase One restrictions as handed down by the governor, or our hard 11 p.m. cap on operating a business in this county after 11 p.m., that means they're not allowed to be open at all," Kerner said. "So we had to close them."

Palm Beach County is currently in Phase One of Florida's reopening plan, meaning restaurants, retail stores, fitness centers and gyms, and museums and libraries can operate at 50% capacity indoors.

Kerner added that seven businesses have received a Notice of Violation, which involve life safety issues.

Representatives from those businesses will have to appear before a magistrate, and they could be fined up to $15,000 per day.

"At the Playhouse 2, a gentlemen's club, a strip club, whatever you want to call it, it was as if COVID-19 didn't exist in that space," Kerner said. "It was shoulder-to-shoulder, there was not one mask. And so we will be going for the highest penalty possible."

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus

According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are 36,114 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Palm Beach County, including 919 deaths.