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Mar-a-Lago Starts to Reopen, but Bring Your Own Towel

Main building will stay closed, but pool will be available this weekend
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 14, 2020 7:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – President Trump's Mar-a-Lago club will partially reopen to members this weekend as South Florida slowly reopens from the coronavirus lockdown. An email sent Thursday to members says the Palm Beach resort's Beach Club restaurant, its pool and its whirlpool will reopen Saturday after being closed two months, but its main building that includes hotel rooms, the main dining area, and the president's private residence will remain closed. Members will have to practice social distancing, and lounge chairs will be set 6 feet apart, the AP reports. And they will have to bring their own towels. The Trump Organization did not return a call seeking comment. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a close ally of the president, has been slowly allowing the state to reopen, with the hard-hit counties of South Florida trailing the rest of the state.

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Mar-a-Lago executives told Florida officials last month that it was temporarily laying off 153 workers because of the shutdown, a decision the president defended at the time. "You can't have many hundreds of employees standing around doing nothing," he said April 21. "There's no customer. You're not allowed to have a customer." The federal government's economic relief bill specifically bars Trump's businesses, as well as those with ties to other top government officials and members of Congress and their immediate families, from receiving emergency loans and other benefits meant to help businesses retain workers during the pandemic. Palm Beach County has had nearly 4,300 confirmed COVID-19 cases since early March, and at least 263 deaths. As of 2018, Mar-a-Lago's approximately 500 members paid annual dues of $14,000.

(Read more Mar-a-Lago stories.)

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