By Charles Elmore 

 An emergency order puts beaches out of bounds for the Fourth of July weekend across Palm Beach County.

  The county's order to close beaches temporarily joins similar decrees in Miami-Dade and Broward counties aimed at avoiding large gatherings during the three-day weekend to slow the spread of COVID-19.

  Palm Beach County mayor Dave Kerner told media outlets it would be "highly irresponsible" to keep beaches open and said the county's priority remains "public health first and foremost."

  Beaches are set to close from 12:01 a.m Friday July 3 until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 5, reopening Monday.

  The order applies to "all public, municipal and private beaches," according to a county statement.

  Individual violators face potential civil fines of $25 for a first offense, with subsequent offenses drawing $50 to $100, according to the order.

  Restaurants and retail establishments within beach parks are allowed to remain open if they follow rules on mandatory masks and social distancing, officials said.

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