County Keeps Up Virus Response While Keeping An Eye On The Tropics

During an afternoon news conference on Friday, Aug. 21 at the Emergency Operations Center, Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner gave an update on local COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Joining him were Commissioner Mack Bernard and Emergency Management Director Bill Johnson.

Tropics — County officials are monitoring several systems in the Atlantic including Tropical Storm Laura, which is on a projected path to bring it near South Florida. Tropical storm-force conditions are possible in South Florida on Monday. Residents are urged to remain vigilant and have their emergency plans in place. Visit for more info.

Homelessness — Bernard announced that all homeless individuals (approximately 135) who had been living in John Prince Park have been moved to other accommodations, such as the new Lewis Center Annex and local hotels.

Testing — A total of 115 COVID-19 testing sites are operating in Palm Beach County. Rapid-result antigen testing began this week at the Fitteam Ballpark of Palm Beaches. These tests are administered to individuals who are age 65 and older, 5 to 18, or symptomatic at any age. Register online at or call (866) 416-6341.

Palm Beach County has reported a total of 40,157 cases of COVID-19 with 3,129 hospitalizations and 1,048 cumulative deaths. The statewide daily lab positivity rate as of Thursday was 6.83 percent. Palm Beach County’s has dropped to 5.18 percent. Neighboring counties daily positivity rates are: Hendry County 23.88 percent, Martin County 9.14 percent, Broward County 6.75 percent and Glades County 50 percent.

The State of Emergency in Palm Beach County has been extended until Aug. 28. The mandatory mask/facial covering order EO 2020-020 has been extended to Sept. 22.

Vacation and Short-Term Rentals — County Administrator Verdenia Baker has signed Emergency Order 2020-19 permitting the opening of all vacation and short-term rentals previously suspended by the governor’s executive order (20-087). Vacation and short-term rentals may re-open provided the rentals are conducted in compliance with the provisions of Palm Beach County’s safety plan, which is available at

“There will be no tolerance for behavior that does not fall in line with the intent of this opening for the tourism and the hospitality industry,” Kerner said. “There will be no house parties or large gatherings.”

Schools — Palm Beach County and school district officials will meet Monday to begin developing an operational plan for re-opening local schools. The school board tentatively plans to re-open schools one week after the county goes to Phase 2.

CECT — The COVID-19 Education & Compliance Team (CECT) is actively enforcing Emergency Order 18, which provides revised restrictions on operating hours for restaurants, food establishments and other businesses, and clarification of current business closures, and certain businesses that are allowed to operate under Phase 1 restrictions. To date, a total of 5,498 business complaints have been received: 3,995 complaints were assessed, 1,577 processed and a total of 27 businesses closed for noncompliance. Download the Combat Covid app from the App Store and Google Play Store.