PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — After weeks of closures due to the deadly coronavirus, parks, boat ramps, golf courses, community pools, and other recreational areas reopened in Palm Beach County on Wednesday.
A new emergency order went into effect at 12:01 a.m.
However, there are restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19, and residents are still urged to practice social distancing and wear face coverings whenever possible.
“This does not mean we are back to normal in any way, shape, or form,” said Dr. Alina Alonso, the health director for the county, at a news conference on Monday. “I would say that social distancing now is more important than ever.”
All public county and municipal parks and natural areas, with the exception of beach parks, are now open.
Park hours are from sunrise to sunset for walking, running, strolling, biking, and equestrian riding. In addition, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, water skiing, wake boarding, and bicycle rentals are permitted as long as physical distancing is practiced.
All park playgrounds, picnic pavilions, campgrounds, dog parks, skate parks, field sports, organized sports, recreational buildings, gymnasiums, and concession stands remain closed.
Basketball courts in county parks are open for individual practice only. Only three players per half court are allowed, and competitive team games are prohibited.
Phil Foster Park and Dubois Park are considered beach parks, and will therefore remain closed as long as public beaches are closed. The boat ramp at Phil Foster will be open, but not the beach.
For boaters wanting to take advantage of the boat ramps reopening, there are restrictions in place.
Boats must remain at least 50 feet apart at all times, boats cannot link to one another, and no gatherings of more than 10 people are allowed.
Law enforcement officers are out patrolling to make sure boaters are not anchoring at any sandbars or islands. Violators could be fined or have their boats towed.
The following limitations are in place for boaters:
Boats 25 feet or less: four adult passengers maximum
Boats 26 feet to 36 feet: six adult passengers maximum
Boats 37 feet to 60 feet: eight adult passengers maximum
Boats over 60 feet: 10 adult passengers maximum, not including crew members
The county has also set regulations for private and public golf courses.
Golfers are not allowed to touch flagsticks, only one person is allowed in each golf cart cart, and tee times are staggered.
Play is set up for walking, single-rider golf carts, or shared carts for families living in the same household.
Practice facilities, clubhouses, locker rooms, and pro shops remain closed, and all league, clinic, camp, youth, and other organized activities remain suspended.
In terms of community pools, pool capacity is limited and seating on pool decks is restricted.
Beaches in Palm Beach County remain closed until further notice.
According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are 2,911 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Palm Beach County, including 178 deaths.