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Boca Councilman wants beaches, parks in Palm Beach County reopened

Boca Councilman wants beaches, parks in Palm Beach County reopened. (WPEC)
Boca Councilman wants beaches, parks in Palm Beach County reopened. (WPEC)
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The beaches are deserted and empty in Palm Beach County, but if one local official gets his way, it won’t be this way much longer.

“At times like this people desperately, desperately need the chance to be able to recreate in open spaces," said Andy Thomson, Boca Raton City Council member.

Thomson plans to formally introduce a measure at Tuesday night’s city council meeting to urge Palm Beach County to reopen all the beaches, parks, tennis courts, and private golf courses.

“The county ought to do those things, ought to open those things if and only if people observe social distancing guidelines," he said. At private golf courses, he says, only one golfer per cart would be allowed. If the golf course has a bar or restaurant, it would not be open for business.

The governor also hinted Friday that outdoor spaces would be among the first to reopen.

“In New York City, they’re still packed on the subways, they’re still spreading it on that. Some of the outdoor spaces, the parks and some of these things, I think the risk is much more minimal. Now you’re not gonna have large gatherings out there," Gov. Ron De Santis said.

But he cautions southeast Florida, specifically Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties could be the last to fall in line.

“Going forward I think we’ve gotta be promoting people to get exercise. Do it in a good way, do it in a safe way, " he said.

When it comes to schools, restaurants, bars, daycares, and gyms, Gov. DeSantis says reopening those places will be in phases.

For business owners, it can’t come soon enough.

"Of course we’re eager to reopen but at the same time, the reality is we’ve missed our money-making months," said M.J. Binette, co-owner of East Coast T-Shirts and Sunglasses.

She says their busiest months are March and April. East Coast T-Shirts and Sunglasses in Delray Beach closed its doors on March 21 when the city ordered all non-essential businesses to shut down.

Binette says she’s lost about $40,000 in sales.

“Business will be dead in the summer when we finally can reopen. There won’t be anyone on the avenue," she said.

Binette says this is worse than a hurricane, because at least with a hurricane you know you can reopen in a few days.

But no one knows how much longer the pandemic will be with us.

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