COVID: 2022 Mask Mandates Feeling Like 2020 In Palm Beach And Broward Counties
2022 Is Here And It Brings Face Mask Mandates Amidst Full Hospitals & High Infection Rates
Boca Raton, FL – Boca Post (BocaPost.com) — 2022 has a certain 2020 feeling about it as the country has seemed to have had a COVID relapse. Locally, Palm Beach County, The School District of Palm Beach County, and many municipalities in the area have announced face mask mandates effective Monday, January 3rd, 2022.
Palm Beach and Broward County Government Revisit Facial Coverings Policies
As South Florida welcomes 2022, it is feeling a bit like 2020 on the COVID front. With face mask mandates going in to affect Monday, January 3rd, 2022, COVID transmission rates breaking new records, hospitals overflowing, COVID testing sites overwhelmed, and the list goes on.
As we previously reported, Palm Beach County and other municipalities have announced that they will be reinstating their facial coverings policies a/k/a mask mandates on Monday, January 3rd, 2022.
In a flurry of policy changes across Palm Beach and Broward Counties, many municipalities and government agencies, including Palm Beach County School District and Broward County Public Schools, have announced that they will be reverting to the facial coverings policies a/k/a mask mandates they had originally established in 2020.
Hospitals: Boca And Delray Hospitals Are Not COVID Test Sites
Like many hospitals in South Florida, The Palm Beach Health Network, who owns many hospitals including Delray Medical Center and West Boca Medical Center has announced that their hospitals are not COVID-19 test centers and they are advising patients NOT to go to the hospital for COVID testing.
Baptist Health, who represents Bethesda Hospital East, Bethesda Hospital West, and Boca Raton Regional Hospital have announced that they will not be providing any COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic patients. In their statement, they say that in an effort to better serve their communities, their facilities will be seeing patients based on severity of illness or injury.
COVID-19 Testing In Palm Beach County
Palm Beach County is planning on discussing distributing COVID at home rapid test kits. “Right now, we are in discussions and in fact, the board of county commissioners is meeting on Tuesday and we are going to address that,” Weinroth said. The commission will discuss the at home test kits on their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022. Meanwhile, the current COVID testing sites in the county are overwhelmed. Some are closing early. Some have lines been reported to be over a mile long.
People are looking to hospitals for COVID tests which has caused significant overcrowding issues at area hospitals. Local hospitals are telling people not to come to the hospital to get a COVID test. In fact, many local hospitals have announced that they are no longer providing COVID-19 testing to asymptomatic patients.
COVID-19 Testing In Broward County
Broward County has reported to Boca Post that they have distributed 125,000 COVID rapid, at home, COVID-19 tests free to the public. Broward County Mayor Michael Udine said, “I am so happy that we were able to first, secure the test kits, and second, distribute them quickly and efficiently to so many Broward County residents. I also am very appreciative of the County and municipality staff who pulled together to make this public safety effort successful.”
Mayor Udine has committed that as long as the kits remain available, they will distribute them to the public. As we previously reported, Broward has expanded it’s amount of COVID-19 testing sites as well. See where the new sites are and when they are opening as we previously reported: New COVID Test Sites In Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, Davie.
Face Masks In Area Schools
Palm Beach County School District announced on Friday, December 31st, 2021, that all teachers, staff, vendors, and visitors must wear a facial covering while on any school property effective Tuesday January 4th, 2022. Of course, they cannot force students to wear facial coverings; however, they are strongly recommending students wear masks.
Broward County Public Schools made a similar announcement at an emergency school board meeting on Friday, December 31st, 2021. Broward County Public Schools have amended their facial coverings policy again to require all visitors, teachers, staff, and vendors to wear facial coverings while on school property.
Broward County Public Schools has announced that that while the district is unable to force students to wear facial coverings they are encouraging them to wear the masks.
No, Students Are Not Required To ‘Mask Up’
Both Broward Public Schools and Palm Beach School District are bound by the new state law put in to affect November 18th, 2021, which strictly prohibits public school systems from forcing students to wear facial coverings. The law also prohibits schools from segregating students who wear masks from students who don’t wear masks. Any school in violation of this law will be punished by losing state funding.