Message from the Town Manager

April 23, 2020

Highland Beach Residents:

I, along with the Town Commission, Town Staff and our Police Department, would like to thank you for being and remaining compliant and gracious citizens of Highland Beach who have diligently “followed the rules” and respected their neighbors during this unparalleled public health emergency.

The Town of Highland Beach established safe practices early on and in advance of some state and county orders. Then we tweaked and tightened the practices, shutting down all services and minimizing staff for their safety. Our main goal, and our only goal, is to make the best decisions to keep our citizens safe. The State of Florida and Palm Beach County have also authorized a series of orders that closed the beaches, imposed social distancing guidelines, closed non-essential business and travel, and strongly encouraged the wearing face masks or coverings for public outings.

As we navigate these uncharted waters of the COVID-19 together, we are exposed to a seemingly endless amount of information disseminated by the scientific community, media outlets, and government officials. Yet this constant flow of information sometimes leaves us with more unanswered questions and ongoing concerns. This is why, now more than ever, that we must remain vigilant and resolute to the call for social distancing and putting personal protection measures into practice every day.   

We are encouraged to see our residents getting exercise and fresh air on A1A and side streets, but please be careful and safe and continue the great job of social distancing.  The call to open our private beaches grows louder by the day and we hear you.  It is important to note that I, nor the Town Commission, are bestowed with the authority to limit and/or prohibit the use of private property through an emergency order.  It is the order of the Governor combined with that of Palm Beach County that has restricted the use of private beaches during this time.  And yes, we know that other counties in the state have commenced easing its imposed restrictions especially those related to beaches both public and private.  However, South Florida’s public health condition for COVID -19 is different than other parts of the state and it has yet to improve to a point where our public health professionals are comfortable with easing restrictions.  But they have indicated our situation is improving and have started planning for the easing of existing restrictions.  And we are involved in this process.

Palm Beach County public health professionals are committed to easing restrictions in concert with our neighbors to the south, Broward County and Miami-Dade County, as our public health conditions improve.  South Florida is working together to determine the best methods to try to return to a “new normal.”

As Town Manager, I am working daily with State and County officials to coordinate the management of COVID-19 public health emergency.  I am coordinating our efforts and response with the Town Commission.  We are looking forward to the day that we can return to a “new normal” by means of a systematic easing of the current restrictions and reopening of our economy.

As COVID-19 does not have a proven cure, therapeutics or vaccine at this time, we must remain mindful of the possible consequences of the virus as we begin to ease the current restrictions. We do not want to lose the progress we have made. Eventually, we will return to a more open and relaxed way of living, and a new, possibly redefined normal.

Thank you again for remaining compliant to the executive orders, being courteous to your neighbors on A1A, practicing social distancing and putting personal protection measures that will help protect and preserve our unique sense of place.

I can do it.  You can do it.  We can do it.  Together we will do it.

“Stay Home, Stay Safe.”
Marshall Labadie, Town Manager

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