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Coronavirus threat forces restaurant, bar, beach closures in Palm Beach County

Governor orders closure for 30 days
Posted at 10:41 PM, Mar 17, 2020

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — As the waves crashed ashore at Bark Beach in Boca Raton, the Koolik family ventured out Tuesday night to relax and take a break from isolating inside their home.

"We figured before the beaches close we wanted to get a little fresh air," said Elliot Koolik.

Starting Wednesday, all city-owned facilities, parks, and beaches will be closed in Boca Raton. Restaurants are also closed in the city, except for drive-through, takeout and delivery services, until further notice.

The city is taking additional safety measures to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

"I think it’s necessary. I mean, in light of what’s happening all around the world and what’s happening around our nation, I think we don’t have a choice," Koolik said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis also ordered the closure of all bars and nightclubs in Florida for 30 days effective 5 p.m. Tuesday. Restaurants must also limit their number of patrons to 50 percent occupancy and maintain safe distances between tables.

The manager at Rooster's in West Palm Beach spent Tuesday putting up chairs and closing down the bar.

"It's a huge financial hit for us, but fortunately we have a very large emergency fund so we’ll be OK and we're gonna go around supporting other businesses now," said David Zen.

Rooster's is also supporting its employees, using them to help paint and spruce up the bar with different projects over the next month.

"We're gonna put everyone to work and anyone that wants to work that’s on the crew is gonna have a job," Zen said.

It's not a normal day at the beach in South Florida, but many believe these closures are necessary.

"It may seem like a drastic move but I think, you know, better safe than sorry," said Marcela Ramos.