Palm Beach County Gives Clarity For Phase 3 Reopenings

While many businesses and residents in South Florida have still been confused on exactly which reopening rules to adhere to, in Palm Beach County, Administrator Verdenia Baker yesterday issued Emergency Order 2020-028, to provide guidance in the county.

Last week Friday, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-244, which moved all of Florida’s counties into Phase 3.  The Governor’s order included a preemption of any county-issued COVID-19 emergency order that would prevent an individual from working or from operating a business. The order also stated that restaurants cannot be limited by any COVID-19 order to less than fifty percent of their indoor capacity and imposing certain requirements if such an establishment is limited to less than one hundred percent of its indoor capacity. Lastly, the order suspended the collection of fines and penalties associated with COVID-19 restrictions enforced upon individuals.

Palm Beach County Administrator has determined that it is necessary and appropriate to repeal and replace some of the prior Palm Beach County emergency orders imposing COVID-19 related restrictions on individuals, businesses and establishments while making clear that certain restrictions are still imposed to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

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With the exception of Palm Beach County Emergency Orders Nos. 2020-012 (facial coverings) and 2020-017 (enforcement), all prior Palm Beach County emergency orders imposing COVID-19 related restrictions on individuals, businesses, and/or establishments are hereby repealed and replaced with the order issued yesterday.

This means that all individuals, businesses, and establishments must use facial coverings in all businesses and establishments; in public places where social distancing is not possible; in common areas within private communities accessible to more than one housing unit; when utilizing the Palm Tran services and when accessing governmental buildings.

In addition, businesses and establishments shall continue to ensure compliance with facial covering mandates, including establishing a process for verification of compliance upon customer entry into the business or establishment.

A business’ or establishment’s failure to ensure said compliance may result in fines, penalties, and/or any other enforcement measures authorized by law upon those businesses or establishments.

Due to Governor DeSantis’ order, COVID-19 related collection of fines and penalties upon individuals is suspended. Businesses can still be fined.

All individuals, businesses, and establishments are also required to keep adhering to all applicable social distancing guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The foregoing shall apply to all persons located in all businesses and establishments, but said requirements cannot be imposed to limit restaurant capacity to less than one hundred percent of its indoor capacity at any given time. All businesses and establishments must adhere to enhanced cleaning protocols, such as those in guidelines issued by the CDC relating to enhanced cleaning and disinfecting guidance for reopenings.

As permitted by applicable law, the Sheriff of Palm Beach County, law enforcement agencies including municipal law enforcement are authorized to enforce this order.

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