Mayor Bonnie Fischer wears the model of mask selected for distribution to residents. A secure fit and easy breathing fabric make it her favorite.
The ones given to residents will have the town seal.
Jerry Lower/The Coastal Star
By Dan Moffett
The South Palm Beach Town Council has approved buying thousands of high-quality face masks to distribute to all residents in response to the growing rate of COVID-19 infections in South Florida.
The council, during a November special meeting, authorized spending about $10,000 to supply each resident with five masks by December.
This is the town’s second mask distribution campaign. Last spring, shortly after the pandemic began, South Palm Beach handed out 3,000 masks, with Mayor Bonnie Fischer personally delivering most of them to each condo building.
“I’m willing to do that again,” Fischer said. “There’s not a lot we can do, but giving people masks is something, and it’s very important.”
The town has brought in the Palm Beach County Health Department’s mobile testing unit three times this year to screen residents, and another test day is scheduled for Dec. 11. The last visit was Nov. 6, when 102 residents were tested and offered ice cream outside Town Hall for their participation.
Fischer said making masks available has helped make them more acceptable and has played a role in reducing the spread of the coronavirus. South Palm Beach has had seven confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the Health Department testing and reports from condo managers. There are two known resident deaths from the disease.
In other business, town officials are reviewing options to find alternate easements for beach access, so South Palm Beach’s long-awaited sand restoration project can begin early next year.
The plan to haul in up to 1,000 truckloads of dredged sand from neighboring Palm Beach has stalled because property owners near the two towns’ borderline have balked at allowing easements for access to the beachfront. Officials are hoping that either Lantana will support opening a southern pathway for the trucks near Municipal Beach Park, or condo owners in the southern end of Palm Beach will allow access. “It could mean bringing the sand farther,” said Fischer, “but it’s one of the different options we’re working on at the moment.”
It’s been a tough summer and autumn for South Palm Beach’s beaches. The combination of an active storm season and king tides has swept sand away and damaged condominium sea walls.
“There’s no beach in places,” Fischer said. “This time of year we lose a lot, and that’s just the nature of the beast.”
Besides cooperation from Lantana, South Palm Beach is heavily reliant on cooperation from Palm Beach.
“They’re basically doing us a huge favor,” she said.
Palm Beach has an expansive beach restoration dredging project underway and has committed to selling South Palm the sand it needs to replenish its beaches — at a cost of somewhere between $700,000 and $900,000. The town has the money set aside and needs only an access route to deposit the sand.
The project is scheduled to begin sometime between February and April, and it must be completed before the turtle nesting season begins in May. Ú