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Palm Beach County to Enter Phase 2 Reopening

Posted by Christopher Keller | Sep 04, 2020 | 0 Comments

This week, Palm Beach County commissioners voted to ask Governor Ron DeSantis to let the county begin Phase Two of the reopening plan. This plan is set to go into effect on Tuesday, September 8th. 

What Did Phase 1 of the Plan Include?

Phase 1 included the following requirements and recommendations:

  • Restaurants and food establishments may allow on-premises consumption of food and beverage, so long as they adopt appropriate social distancing measures and limit their indoor occupancy to no more than 25 percent of their building occupancy. In addition, outdoor seating is permissible with appropriate social distancing. Appropriate social distancing requires maintaining a minimum of 6 feet between parties, only seating parties of 10 or fewer people and keeping bar counters closed to seating.
  • In-store retail sales establishments may open storefronts if they operate at no more than 25 percent of their building occupancy and abide by the safety guidelines issued by the CDC and OSHA.
  • Facial coverings.
  • Barbershops, cosmetology salons, and cosmetology specialty salons that adopt appropriate social distancing and precautionary measures as outlined by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
  • Museum and library facilities may open at no more than 25 percent of their building occupancy, however, at this time Palm Beach County will not be opening these establishments and County library services remain virtual.
  • All public, municipal, and private beaches including all beach parks shall be open sunrise to sunset subject to CDC guidelines by limiting gatherings to no more than 10 persons and distancing themselves from other parties by 6 feet. Beach concessions may operate following CDC guidelines. County-owned South Inlet Park will remain closed until such time as the City of Boca Raton opens their beaches. 
  • Specific regulations for recreational and sports facilities.

What Does Phase 2 of the Plan Include?

The second phase of the reopening plan would happen in increments:

1st Increment
  • The following can open with reduced capacity:
    • Theaters, bowling alleys, escape rooms, playhouses, skating rinks, trampoline venues, etc.
  • Restaurants can open at 50% indoor capacity and full outdoor capacity
  • The following can open at full capacity:
    • Retail stores, gymns, fitness centers, museums, libraries
2nd Increment
  • The following can open at 50% capacity:
    • Auditoriums, bingo facilities, comedy clubs, concert houses
  • The following can expand their capacity from the 1st increment: 
    • Theaters, bowling alleys, escape rooms, playhouses, skating rinks, trampoline venues, etc.
3rd Increment
  • All businesses mentioned in the first two increments can function at full capacity
  • The following can open with reduced capacity:
    • Bars, arcades, billiard halls, hookah bars, smoking bars, lounges nightclubs, strip clubs, etc.

Are There Any New Additions to Phase 2? 

This plan includes two new additions. One addition is the removal of the time restrictions on businesses. Right now, during Phase 1, businesses are not allowed to operate between the hours of 11:00 PM and 5:00 AM. Phase 2 hopes to end this restriction. 

The second addition is the change to the reopening of public schools in the county. The school district's plan is to open schools one week after Phase 2 kicks in, but the Phase 2 plan suggests that schools wait to open until three to four weeks after entering Phase 2. Though this is part of the Phase 2 plan, school district officials have been clear in their intentions to still reopen schools one week following Phase 2, regardless of any changes to the Phase 2 plan. 

A spokesperson for the School District of Palm Beach County said, “The Innovative Reopening Plan, approved by the Palm Beach County School Board and the Florida Department of Education, remains the same. The document calls for the reopening of campuses, and in-person instruction, one week after Palm Beach County moves from Phase 1 to Phase 2. At that time, parents will still have a choice whether to continue in distance learning or send their children back to in-person instruction."

Moving Forward for Florida

As we continue to move forward in our reopening plans, it is important to keep in mind that rules are in place for a reason. To avoid a massive setback in our progress, we should remember the phased regulations as they are presented by the leaders of our community. 

  • Before going out, ask yourself these questions provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
  • How many people will you interact with?
  • Can you keep 6 feet of space between you and others? Will you be outdoors or indoors?
  • What's the length of time that you will be interacting with people?
  • Is COVID-19 spreading in my community?
  • What are the local orders in my community?
  • Do I live with someone who is at risk for severe illness?
  • Do I practice everyday preventive actions?

By considering some of these key questions, you can keep yourself in the right mindset as you navigate today's pandemic.

About the Author

Christopher Keller

Christopher J. Keller is an experienced plaintiff's personal injury attorney.  He concentrates his practice in the areas of Wrongful Death, Auto, Truck, Train & Motorcycle Accidents and Premises Liability.  Before founding Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh, PLLC, Mr. Keller practiced personal injury ...

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