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Trump's Mar-a-Lago New Year's Eve party violated mask order, county officials say

Trump's Mar-a-Lago New Year's Eve party violated mask order, county officials say
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Palm Beach County officials in Florida this week said President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills MORE’s New Year’s Eve party at his private Mar-a-Lago club violated a local mask order implemented amid the coronavirus pandemic.  

In a notice sent to Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday, Richard Padgett, a code enforcement officer with the county's COVID Enforcement and Education Team, informed the club that in footage and pictures posted to social media from the party, several attendees “were observed without facial coverings.” 

"Failure to adhere to facial covering and social distancing requirements constitute an irreparable/irreversible violation that imperils or threatens to imperil the life, safety, and welfare of others and cannot be undone," Padgett wrote. 

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The officer then added, in bold capital letters, "YOU MUST ADHERE TO ALL FACIAL COVERING REQUIREMENTS IMMEDIATELY AND MUST COMPLY WITH ALL APPLICABLE PALM BEACH COUNTY EMERGENCY ORDERS.” 

The letter said that future violations to the countywide mask mandate “may result in a Notice of Violation and Special Magistrate hearing,” which Padgett said may result in “a fine of up to $15,000 per violation.” 

In a letter attached to the notice, county officials thanked Mar-a-Lago leadership for meeting with them last week “to discuss the concerning allegations” related to the New Year’s Eve event. 

While the officials acknowledged in the letter that the club “provided masks for all party goers,” they argued that based on video evidence, there appeared to be “a breakdown in enforcement of mask orders that led to almost the entire room of guests being without masks during the later evening activities.” 

The warning comes after Florida state Rep. Omari Hardy (D) earlier this month called for Mar-a-Lago’s closure following the New Year’s Eve party. 

Local NBC affiliate WPTV reported at the time that Hardy sent a letter to Assistant County Administrator Todd Bonlarron asking that the club be fined and shut down for violating a county mask mandate.

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In his letter, Hardy said the gathering had the potential to be a “super-spreader event.”

"I recognize that the President is a powerful person and that his business, Mar-a-Lago, is a daunting target for enforcement, but the law is the law,” Hardy wrote.

The Palm Beach Post reported Wednesday that Hardy was disappointed that the county did not issue a fine for mask violations at the New Year’s Eve party, despite what he called "ample evidence."

"I'm concerned that this sends the wrong message to business owners throughout the county," Hardy explained. "This isn't about singling out the president, it is about a business that violated the mask order repeatedly."

As of Wednesday, the Florida Department of Health has recorded a total of more than 1.5 million total cases of COVID-19 in the state, with nearly 94,000 infections in Palm Beach County alone.