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Coronavirus Live Updates: Palm Beach County Commissioner Wants To Relax Late-Night Restaurant Restrictions To Curb Drunk Driving

Melissa McKinlay_09152020.png
Screenshot from commission meeting
Commissioner McKinlay at a Sept. 15, 2020 commission meeting

This post will be updated today, Wednesday, September 23, and through the week with the latest information on COVID-19 in South Florida.

WLRN staff continues to add to community resource lists, including this article on where kids and families can get food while schools are closed, and this post about whether and where to get tested for coronavirus.

The dedicated website for the Florida Department of Health, including information about symptoms and numbers of cases, can be found here.

The dedicated website from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can be found here.

To receive WLRN's coronavirus updates newsletter on Wednesdays and Saturdays, sign up here.

QUICK UPDATES

Palm Beach County Commissioner Wants To Relax Late-Night Restaurant Restrictions To Curb Drunk Driving

Updated Wednesday at 12:45 p.m.

Since Palm Beach County has required restaurants to close early, some commissioners are trying to ease county rules, saying at a meeting this week that restrictions on late-night operations indirectly provide incentives for drunk driving.

County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay said she’s concerned about young people drunk driving to late-night house parties after leaving restaurants early.

McKinlay says that if young diners were allowed to stay at establishments past midnight, they’d be less likely to drive drunk.

“You know you gotta pick the lesser of the two evils sometimes. And the thought of a couple hundred young adults driving drunk out to Loxahatchee scares me just as much as COVID does,” McKinlay said.

County Administrator Verdenia Baker says public safety announcements about drunk driving should take precedence over extending restaurant hours.

“We must impress upon our young people that they should not be drinking and driving,” Baker said. “This was an issue even before COVID.”

If COVID-19 case numbers remain low, standalone bars in the county may reopen in early November.

— Wilkine Brutus/WLRN

Statewide Coronavirus Cases Increase By 2,590, Resident Death Toll Reaches 13,618

Updated Wednesday at 11:25 a.m.

Florida surpassed 690,000 positive cases of COVID-19 as Florida’s Department of Health confirmed an additional 2,590 cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Florida now has a total of 690,499 confirmed positive cases, according to the state's health department.

Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties make up 708 of the newly reported cases. Monroe County only added two cases overall.

Wednesday’s update also included the announcement of 202 new resident deaths, increasing the statewide number of Floridians who died to 13,618.

— By WLRN News

Maskless Voters Won’t Be Kept Away From Polls On Nov. 3, Election Officials Say

Updated Wednesday at 8:00 a.m.

After touting the safety of voting sites, Broward election officials now say they won’t stop people from voting if they don’t wear masks.

The statement from the Broward elections supervisor stunned legal experts who say permitting maskless voting would clearly conflict with COVID-19 court rulings that already have upheld mask laws.

The Broward County Supervisor of Elections told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that it cannot turn away anti-maskers who are eligible to vote in the Nov. 3 presidential election: They have a right to vote under federal law. And elections officials argue that outweighs any local law on masks.

Read more from our news partner at the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

— By Lisa J. Huriash and Andrew Boryga / The South Florida Sun Sentinel