Published On: Tue, Jul 14th, 2020

Palm Beach County Is Shutting Down Restaurants And Alcohol Services at 11 p.m.

Officials in Palm Beach County are witnessing a massive spike in COVID-19 cases due to gatherings and parties happening after dark at local bars and food establishments. 

Photo courtesy by Eric Pasquarelli/WPTV

As a result, restaurants, and bars can expect to be closed starting today from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. in an effort to issue an order prohibiting the selling of alcoholic beverages and food. 

County Administrator Verdenia Baker stated on Tuesday that she will be issuing the order primarily to stop those establishments that are putting more residents at risk by violating the law. 

Other businesses including kava bars, banquet halls, and amusement parks can anticipate a forced closure during these hours. 

The county is shifting into an enforcement-based approach to deal with violators of the law rather than educating them after seeing a spike in COVID-19. 

A fine of $500 has not deterred some businesses from going against the law. According to Palm beach daily news, another law will be increasing the fines for businesses that are not complying with state and county orders as much as $15000 as a means to help lower the spread of COVID-19. 

County Mayor Dave Kerner said the county is working with state regulators such as the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco to revoke liquor licenses from non-compliant bars and food establishments until the law can officially be passed in August. 

Takeout and delivery services are not expected to be affected by this law. 

These after-dark parties and gatherings are not making it easier to prevent to spread of COVID-19 or get tested. 

Currently, it takes a minimum of 10 days to receive COVID-19 test results from labs that are overwhelmed by people getting the test done according to the director of the county’s health department, Dr. Alina Alonso. 

The delay in testing has contributed to people thinking they haven’t tested positive for the virus and infecting others around them. 

According to the Florida Department of Health, 133 fatalities were recorded including 13 in the county due to COVID-19. 

Although there is a week delay due to testing labs, this is still the highest number reported on a single day since March when the pandemic began. 

According to Kerner, due to the spread of COVID- 19 the county will not be moving into Phase 2, which would authorize gyms and retailers to fully operate and restaurants to reopen their bars.

County commissioners and other officials continue to urge residents to stay home and businesses to follow orders as they administer preventative measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  

About the Author

- I am a senior at Florida Atlantic University majoring in Multimedia Studies with a concentration in Journalism and minor in Communications. I am a Newsroom Writer for the Boca Raton Tribune who strives to use my passion for writing not only to inform the public of current events but to encourage and empower the community to enact change.

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