CORONAVIRUS: BEACHES TO OPEN, UNCLEAR WHO ENFORCES SOCIAL DISTANCING

Boca Inlet Beach Area

Commissioners Concerned That PBSO, Local Police Won’t Enforce Social Distancing, Lifeguards Don’t Want The Job.

UPDATE: CITY OF BOCA RATON BEACH PARKS REMAIN CLOSED. LATEST HERE.

BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — The Palm Beach County Commission has voted to open beaches on May 18th in Palm Beach County, BUT is giving the City of Boca Raton the right to keep South Inlet Park closed.

That specific beach — while run by Palm Beach County — is very much in the City of Boca Raton. Its location seemingly created a jurisdiction problem over the past several weeks. Both PBSO and Boca Raton Police claimed it was the other’s jurisdiction when we ran photos of people violation the “closed beach” order.


There will be NO ban on people from other communities or counties using Palm Beach County beaches — there is concern that the county would lose grant money if such a prohibition was put into place.


Beaches will be open sunrise to sunset. Here’s the official language:

Beaches – agreed to reopen all public, municipal and private beaches, including beach parks, in Palm Beach County, effective Monday, May 18, with the following conditions and restrictions:

Beaches will be open between sunrise and sunset only.

• Parties accessing the beaches shall follow CDC guidelines by limiting gatherings to no more than 10 persons and distancing themselves from other parties by six feet.

Beach operations at the county-owned South Inlet Park will follow restrictions for Boca Raton municipal beaches.

Boca Inlet Beach Area
[The City of Boca Raton has been given permission from Palm Beach County to decide whether or not South Inland Park reopens. The stretch of beach created a jurisdictional “issue” as both PBSO and Boca Raton Police said it was the other’s responsibility after we ran photos, like this, of beach goers violating the “closed beach” order].

But a main point of contention is just who enforces social distancing rules. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office apparently doesn’t want the job and is suggesting that lifeguards be responsible.

A representative of the Communications Workers or America — which oversees lifeguards — told commissioners social distancing is a police issue, not something for lifeguards to handle.

A professional lifeguard who also spoke said he is concerned that many people believe there is no COVID-19 issue and that they won’t follow social distancing mandates.

(See our story here about public comments).

Beaches in Palm Beach County open on May 18th, but local municipalities do have the power to NOT open beaches in their community.


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