Palm Beach County to reopen some boat ramps

WEST PALM BEACH — During an afternoon news conference at the Palm Beach County Emergency Operations Center on April 27, County Mayor Dave Kerner announced a coordinated plan to reopen limited recreational facilities and activities within parks and natural areas, marinas, boat ramps and docks, and golf courses on Wednesday, April 29. It may be a few days for some facilities, such as county-owned golf courses, to be fully up and running.

The following rules and restrictions for reopening recreational facilities were determined with the input and recommendations of local industry representatives. “These industries themselves will be partly responsible for enforcing these measures,” Mayor Kerner said, “but the public has a duty to understand and abide by them, as well.”

Boating – capacities are based on size of the boat:

25-foot or less: maximum 6 persons (4 adult passengers plus 2 children 17 & under);

26- to 36-foot: maximum 8 persons (6 adult passengers plus 2 children 17 & under);

37- to 60-foot: maximum 10 persons (8 adult passengers plus 2 children 17 & under);

60-foot and larger: maximum 10 passengers plus crew.

Beaching, landings, anchoring or mooring of vessels on sandbars, islands and open shorelines will be prohibited.

Fish cleaning/bait stations limited to one person at a time

Single riders only on rented personal watercraft

Recreational charter boats, drift fishing and dive boats, marinas, boat docks, boat ramps and other launching venues will be allowed to operate in adherence with CDC and specific county guidelines.

Golf courses – There will be rules for the courses themselves, such as play limited to walking and single-rider golf carts only. Locker rooms will be closed except for restroom use. Limited warm-ups on driving ranges are allowed but congregating after play is not.

Tennis courts and community pools – Emergency Order 2020-005 also allows for limited play at outdoor tennis and racquet sports facilities as well as limited use of public and privately owned community pools.

Parks and natural areas will be open sunrise to sunset for one-way walking, running and biking, equestrian riding, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and use of lakes while practicing social distancing. Basketball courts are for individual practice only. Picnic pavilions are closed.

Beaches – Restrictions and conditions for reopening beaches are still being coordinated with Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties. For now, all beaches remain closed.

The full list of restrictions in Emergency Order 2020-005 can be viewed at pbcgov.com.

Dr. Alina Alonso, director of the Florida Department of Health-Palm Beach County, said the decision to reopen parks and recreation facilities was based on analysis of scientific data. Since April 6, Palm Beach County has seen the COVID-19 positivity rate decrease from 17.8 percent to 11.1 percent. Further, daily hospitalization and ICU bed utilization rates are coming down to near the levels prior to the outbreak.

“This does not mean we are back to normal in any way, shape or form,” Dr. Alonso said. “We do not want those numbers going back up. Now more than ever we need to be wearing facial coverings and maintain six-foot distance from others.”

Commissioner Mack Bernard announced the Health Care District of Palm Beach County plans to open two new walk-up COVID-19 testing sites at C.L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics located at 1150 45th Street in West Palm Beach and 411 W. Indiantown Road in Jupiter.

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