NewsPalm Beach CountyRegion C Palm Beach County


Palm Beach County mayor says Fourth of July beach closures necessary sacrifice for sake of public health

Move prompted by surging coronavirus numbers, similar actions by other South Florida counties
Mayor Dave Kerner on Palm Beach County Fourth of July beach closures
Posted at 8:54 AM, Jun 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-29 16:53:33-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach County leaders met Monday morning to formalize plans to close all beaches for the Fourth of July weekend.

Mayor Dave Kerner told reporters Monday that the beach closures will be in effect from Friday through Sunday.

Kerner cited the need to take action because of the rising number of coronavirus cases in Palm Beach County.

County officials were holding a meeting at the Emergency Operations Center to craft the language of the order.

The move comes after similar actions by Miami-Dade and Broward counties to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Mayor Dave Kerner explains why Palm Beach County closing beaches

"I have my own concerns about folks -- good folks -- coming from Broward and Miami-Dade up to our beaches if they were to remain open and that would remain or present some unique public safety issues," Kerner said.

Florida has seen several record-breaking single-day increases in COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks, prompting Palm Beach County to issue a mask mandate.

"We will always put the public health first and foremost," Kerner said. "I don't mean to demean or make light of the fact that our beaches won't be accessible during the Fourth of July weekend, a day that we celebrate our country and our patriotism, but sometimes we have to make sacrifices."

Wanda Smith, who was spending Monday at Lake Worth Beach, said she's in favor of the decision.

Reaction mixed about Palm Beach County beaches closing

"Very unfortunate that we've come to that, but we have to do what keeps us safe," she said.

But not everyone is supportive of the beach closures.

Patty Gray said she would like to see the beaches open, if only to residents.

"If you live here, we ought to be able to go to our beaches," she said.