After months of waiting and watching other businesses reopen, bars in Palm Beach County will finally get their turn on Oct. 5.
The county joined Broward and Miami-Dade counties two weeks ago in keeping bars closed even though the state had allowed bars to reopen across the rest of Florida.
Now, speeding up its timeline for reopenings, Palm Beach County decided to let them reopen at half-capacity on Oct. 5, in addition to allowing hookah and smoking bars to also reopen at 50% capacity on the same date, the county said Thursday. The county acknowledged it was reopening “venues earlier than previously contemplated," after the region saw a downward trend in the infection rate.
Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this month noted how many bars already opened anyway after obtaining permits to serve food. Some bars in South Florida similarly have started serving food to reopen.
On Thursday, Palm Beach County commissioners also backed other changes:
Palm Beach County’s strip clubs will be allowed to reopen on Monday.
The county will remove curfew restrictions for restaurants, allowing for them to operate past midnight, effective Friday.
On Monday, auditoriums, bingo parlors, playhouses and comedy clubs will be allowed to reopen.
Beginning Oct. 5, entertainment venues will be allowed to increase capacity.
The county is currently crafting official executive orders relating to these changes.
When strip clubs reopen, dancers will be allowed to perform on stage, but must remain a plexiglass divider. No touching, including lap dances, will be allowed.
Strip club employees "are losing employment,” Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner said during the meeting. "I was talking to one of the owners. It’s great there’s a possibility of $25,000 stimulus that may come from the county, but their payroll is $35,000 a week and they’re losing the opportunity to pay these women who are going to migrate to other places and I’m sensitive to that.
“So if we can start at that very narrow process to probably 200 people in the whole county, it’s not going to affect the overall metrics.”
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