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All businesses, including bars, can open Friday in Palm Beach County

Restrictions on operating hours of businesses also lifted
cocktail, alcohol, drink, bar, bartender
Phase 3 restrictions in Palm Beach County effective Sept. 25, 2020
Posted at 11:00 AM, Sep 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-25 19:03:02-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach County moved to Phase 3 on Friday, allowing bars, nightclubs, concert halls and a variety of other establishments, to open.

The announcement was made by Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner at an afternoon news conference.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced earlier Friday the state will proceed to Phase Three, which accelerated the county's reopening timeline. The state of Florida is no longer regulating businesses related to COVID-19 restrictions.

In addition to bars and nightclubs, Friday's announcement allows for adult entertainment establishments, hookah, cigar and other smoking bars and lounges, auditoriums, concert halls, bingo parlors and comedy clubs to open in Palm Beach County. These businesses have been closed since March when the pandemic began.

"There will not be any business that is not allowed to be open in Palm Beach County as of today," Kerner said. "Every business will have the right to operate starting today."

Kerner said the county's daily positivity rate stands at 2.92 percent, the lowest rate since May 18.

NEWS CONFERENCE: Palm Beach County will move to Phase 3 (23 minutes)

The county announced Thursday that bars, as well as hookah, cigar, and other smoking lounges would reopen at 50 percent capacity starting on Oct. 5.

However, Kerner said the announcement by DeSantis on Friday moved up the county's timeline.

"We still retain the authority here locally to regulate between one and 100 percent of capacity for bars, nightclubs, adult entertainment establishments," Kerner said.

All restrictions on the operating hours of businesses in Palm Beach County have been lifted as of Friday.

However, restaurants, bars and nightclubs must operate at 50 percent capacity.

"Our measured response has been effective," Kerner said. "But the governor has reiterated that we still have a long way to go in the COVID-19 battle, and this government in Palm Beach County will not relent."

The county said their compliance team will continue to inspect establishments. To date, 4,650 complaints have been processed with a total of 6,900 complaints have been received.

The county's mask ordinance will still be in effect, but they will not be enforcing it.

The Florida Democratic party pushed back on DeSantis moving the state to Phase 3. Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo released the following statement on the executive order issued by the governor:

"Instead of delivering clear, science-based messages to the public during the pandemic, Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump have downplayed the coronavirus and let politics lead the way. Their failure to respond to this pandemic has been an unmitigated disaster for Florida and we simply cannot afford more mismanagement. DeSantis is once again restricting local governments from taking evidence-based measures to protect their communities. We all desperately want things to return back to normal, but that can't happen when DeSantis and Trump have no plan to get us out of this public health crisis."