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UPDATED: PBC Leaders Emphasize Safety for Holiday Weekend

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With the Fourth of July holiday weekend here, Palm Beach County leaders took the opportunity to stress the continued need for safety in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Dave Kerner and other officials held a virtual news conference on Thursday, reminding everyone that all public, municipal, and private beaches in the county will be closed from 12:01 a.m. Friday until 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

“It is unfortunate that the beaches had to be closed,” Kerner said. “It’s not something that I can apologize for because it’s in the best interest of the public safety.”

He added that local law enforcement agencies have an operational plan in place to assure compliance with the law.

“Please stay off the beaches,” Kerner added. “Our law enforcement resources, our fire rescue resources, those resources are better utilized not having to get people to comply with what is a very basic order.”

Fire officials explained there are safety measures to take while setting off fireworks in the county. They include:

-Keep a bucket of water nearby to put used fireworks in, and also fireworks that don’t ignite, known as “duds”

-Keep children away from fireworks

-Only competent adults should be lighting fireworks

-Avoid open areas of land where dry brush could ignite

Mayor Kerner went on to say that Palm Beach County does not plan to shut down indoor dining at restaurants past midnight, since the county has not faced the same issues at those venues as other counties have in South Florida.

However, he said the county would add nighttime restrictions for eateries, if its becomes necessary. The emergency order already has been prepared for that scenario, in case the county needs to impose it, Kerner said.

According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are 14,859 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Palm Beach County, including 523 deaths.