WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach County will not put any restrictions on Halloween this year, officials announced on Friday.
Mayor Dave Kerner said now that Palm Beach County has entered Phase Three of Florida's reopening plan and virtually all businesses are open, it's really up to families and individuals to make their own decisions about what they're comfortable with in terms of celebrating Halloween.
"Certainly we're not, that I'm aware of, will have any restrictions on that type of activity, nor do I think we're empowered to at this point," Kerner said. "I don't know what Halloween looks like, but I know that if I'm a parent and I don't feel comfortable, I shouldn't have my child out in that particular setting."
Halloween falls on a Saturday this year and is creating a lot of uncertainty for families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We've learned how to adapt with this virus. We've learned how to fight back against it as a community," Kerner said. "It's really the time to let those constituents make those decisions that are most important to them."
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Dr. Alina Alonso, the health director for Palm Beach County, said on Friday the county's daily lab positivity rate for COVID-19 is 2.4%, which is lower than the state's daily lab positivity rate of 3.7%.
Health officials aim to keep that rate below 5% because that allows for more effective contact tracing.
According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are 46,833 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,389 coronavirus-related deaths in Palm Beach County.
Dr. Alonso said more than 50% of new COVID-19 cases in the county are in the 15 to 44 age range.
"The biggest component of that are the university students," Alonso said. "They're not catching it on the campus. They're catching it by going out and going to the bars, going to the nightclubs, tailgate parties, whatever parties, house parties that they're going to."
Alonso urged residents to continue practicing safety measures like wearing face coverings, social distancing, washing your hands frequently, and avoiding crowded places that put you in close contact with others.
"You are now the most important agent in keeping the spread of this virus down," Alonso said.
Mayor Kerner said Palm Beach County will use more of its CARES Act money to mail four additional masks -- two reusable and two disposable -- to every resident in the county.
"We are just delighted and proud of how widespread this county has adopted the mask requirement," Kerner said. "The compliance with it has been awesome."
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Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link reminded residents during Friday's news conference that the deadline to register to vote for the November election is Monday, Oct. 5.
You can register online by clicking here, or by visiting any Supervisor of Elections office.
Sartory Link said more than 62,000 residents have already filled out and returned vote-by-mail ballots. The county sent out approximately 428,000 vote-by-mail ballots to residents.