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Palm Beach County beaches to reopen Monday with no residency restrictions

Commissioners vote 5-2 in favor of reopening beaches
Posted at 6:34 AM, May 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 18:17:54-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach County beaches will reopen on Monday, May 18 after being closed for nearly two months due to concerns over the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Commissioners voted 5-2 on Friday to reopen beaches with no restrictions.

Beachgoers will be allowed to sunbathe, and concession stands for beach chairs and umbrellas, along with food and beverage stands, will be allowed to operate.

However, gatherings of more than 10 people will be prohibited and beachgoers must stay at least six feet apart from each other.

Last week, the county commission voted to tentatively reopen beaches on May 18 to county residents only. However, on Friday, commissioners amended that decision and will reopen beaches on Monday to residents from all counties.

Beaches in Palm Beach County have been closed since March 20.

On Thursday, officials announced that beaches in neighboring Broward and Miami-Dade counties won't reopen until at least May 26, the day after Memorial Day.

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Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said beach restrictions will be enforced by local municipalities. However, PBSO deputies will be responsible for patrolling Lake Worth Beach, South Palm Beach, and the beach in Palm Beach Shores.

"We're going to let people have their space," Sheriff Bradshaw said. "My sense of it is, they are going to be happy to get on the beach, so they are going to go by the rules and we'll be fine."

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According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are 4,278 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Palm Beach County, including 263 deaths.