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When will Palm Beach County be allowed to enter 'Phase Two' of Florida's reopening plan?

Gov. Ron DeSantis has not responded to Palm Beach County's request, officials say
Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at Universal Orlando, June 3, 2020
Posted at 2:12 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 14:21:20-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Palm Beach County leaders are awaiting word from Gov. Ron DeSantis to see when he will let the county join Phase Two of Florida's reopening plan.

A county spokesperson said that as of 11:30 a.m. Monday, officials had not heard from the governor's office yet.

On Friday, Mayor Dave Kerner and County Administrator Verdenia Baker sent a letter to DeSantis, asking that Palm Beach County be allowed to enter Phase Two with restrictions.

Under the proposed restrictions, standalone bars that only serve alcohol, not food, would not be allowed to reopen.

Mayor Kerner said county leaders are concerned about people consuming alcohol at those bars, then going out and joining protests that are happening in the wake of the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Only bars that are located inside restaurants would be allowed to reopen under Palm Beach County's plan.

In addition, only people who are sitting down, not standing, would be allowed to be served alcohol.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus | The Rebound South Florida | We're Open South Florida

64 counties in Florida, excluding Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, officially entered Phase Two on Friday.

Under the new reopening guidelines:

  • Restaurants may allow bar-top seating with appropriate social distancing
  • Bars and pubs may operate at 50% capacity inside and full capacity outside with appropriate social distancing
  • Retail stores may operate at full capacity
  • Gyms and fitness centers may operate at full capacity
  • Entertainment venues like movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys and arcades may operate at 50% capacity
  • Personal services business like tattoo parlors, acupuncture establishments, tanning salons and massage establishments may operate while adhering to the Florida Department of Health
  • Pari-mutuel facilities which offer gambling may submit a request to open to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation

Last week, DeSantis said the three South Florida counties can submit a plan to the state for approval to enter Phase Two.

"We'll work with the three southeast Florida counties to see how they're developing and whether they want to move into Phase Two," DeSantis said during a news conference in Orlando. "They're on a little bit different schedule."

According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are 7,329 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Palm Beach County, including 373 deaths.