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Palm Beach County planning to reopen county-operated playgrounds Thursday

County administrator says playgrounds, other park activites expected to reopen later this week
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Posted at 9:20 AM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 17:48:13-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach County is planning to reopen all county-operated playgrounds Thursday, officials say.

During Tuesday's county commission meeting, County Administrator Verdenia Baker said her staff is working on drafting an emergency order that will allow county-operated playgrounds and other park activities to reopen later this week.

"That is an issue that we will be handling this week on the openings of the playgrounds," Baker told county commissioners. "That is something that staff has discussed. We wanted to give the cities a heads up that we were contemplating opening our playgrounds, along with some other type of activities in our parks. That is an [emergency order] that we will be completing, and we anticipate opening those, making it effective on Thursday of this week."

WATCH ANNOUNCEMENT:

Palm Beach County to reopen county playgrounds on Thursday

Baker said county-operated playgrounds will follow CDC guidelines, and there will be disinfecting of the equipment.

"We will also notice parents that allow their kids to play on the playground that there are some risks, and they're utilizing the equipment at their risk," Baker said.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus

The announcement came after a heated exchange during public comment, when a resident named Rachel Eade asked commissioners to reopen county-operated playgrounds, which have been closed for months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I find that this board does have the ability to open the playgrounds," Eade said.

County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay cut Eade off because she was speaking off-topic and not following the board's agenda on public comment.

"Miss Eade, I'm sorry. Again, point of order," McKinlay said.

"Nobody here's actually sorry!" Eade shouted.

"We will maintain a level of civility and decorum in this chamber," Mayor Dave Kerner told Eade.

"Decorum? Nobody here has displayed decorum!" Ead fired back. "Nobody listens to the public. Nobody listens to their emails. Nobody does their job."

Kerner then asked deputies to remove Ead from county commission chambers.

"I don't need to be removed. I can take care of myself," Eade said before walking out.

WPTV also spoke to Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer, who said the city plans to reopen its playgrounds once county-operated playgrounds reopen later this week.

"We're preparing to get them open as soon as possible," Singer said. "When the county order comes down and is issued, we'll follow suit and get our playgrounds up and running."

Singer added that once city playgrounds reopen, it will be up to parents and children to practice safe measures like social distancing to reduce the spread of germs.

"You have to maintain safe behaviors there. We're not gonna be able to disinfect every park, every day," Singer said.

INTERVIEW WITH BOCA RATON MAYOR:

Boca Raton mayor talks about reopening playgrounds