WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The top official in Palm Beach County says "nothing is off the table" when it comes to possibly shutting down the local economy again to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
During a news conference on Friday afternoon, Mayor Dave Kerner said a major decision like that all comes down to the COVID-19 positivity rate in Palm Beach County.
"If the positivity rates start to go up precipitously as they have in other communities, I know where those positivity rates lead us, and I won't hesitate for a moment to do what needs to be done to keep the public safety and health," Kerner said.
The COVID-19 positivity rate in Palm Beach County as of Friday is 12%, according to Kerner, an increase from 9.3% just three weeks ago.
"If the conduct and the metrics and the data indicate that we're headed in a bad place, then we probably, absolutely would close the economy down," Kerner said.
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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 said rolling back those economic regulations would be a policy decision from the entire Board of County Commissioners.
"I want to remind everybody that we're not there yet because of your great work," Kerner said.
The mayor stressed that a countywide mask mandate remains in effect, which requires everyone to wear face coverings in public places in Palm Beach County where social distancing is not possible or not being practiced.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus
According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are 24,361 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Palm Beach County, including 659 deaths.