Published On: Mon, Mar 23rd, 2020

Palm Beach County COVID-19 Status Report

On Friday a press conference was held at the Palm Beach County Emergency Operations Center. Mayor Dave Kerner, joined by Commissioners Mack Bernard, Robert Weinroth and Gregg Weiss, along with a number of our state and county officials, provided an update of community actions identified in multiple Executive Orders issued by Governor Ron DeSantis pertaining to the COVID-19 virus. 

Palm Beach County declared a State of Emergency as on Friday, March 13. On March 19, the state of emergency was extended for an additional seven days. Our protective actions are a regional approach with Miami Dade, and Broward counties.

As a result of the decision by Miami Dade County to invoke emergency protective measures, shutting down beaches, bars and large gathering areas could cause a wave of people to move north, collectively Broward County leadership with Palm Beach County leadership discussed the impacts of people migrating north creating a significant impact to our community. 

Dr. Alina Alonso, director of the Florida Department of Health Palm Beach County said it is extremely important to practice social distancing to reduce the spread of infection. She said to expect increasing numbers of “community spread” cases in the county. 

The Governor has ordered all beaches to close in Palm Beach and Broward counties. In addition all movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys, arcades, gymnasiums, fitness studios are closed. This does not apply to gyms and fitness centers which are amenities of hotels, which have a capacity of 10 persons or less, or are an amenity of a residential building. 

The Governor has also issued and Executive Order which instituted a statewide suspension and orders restaurants and food establishments licensed under Chapters 500 and 509, Florida Statutes to suspend on premisses consumption.

Food establishment may operate their kitchens for purpose of providing delivery or take-out services. The Governor also ordered all vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises to suspend the sale of alcoholic beverages by the drink or in sealed containers for consumption on the premises. Such vendors may continue to sell alcoholic beverages in sealed containers for consumption off-premises. 

County operations have been modified to minimize exposure to the public and employees. Many county services are available online, or through other communications.

In an abundance of caution, some county facilities have been closed to public access to curb the spread of COVID-19. All businesses are essential in Palm Beach County and they maintain the quality of life for our community. Areas identified by the Executive Order in conjunction with local government identifies establishments that are conducive to large gatherings and will mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Please practice social distancing and washing of hands and take all other preventive actions identified by the Centers for Disease Control and the Florida Department of Health . 

Sheriff Ric Bradshaw noted there is no countywide curfew in Palm Beach County and no plans at this time to impose one. The Sheriff’s Office will not be releasing prisoners from jail, and all crimes, minor and major, will be investigated and perpetrators arrested. “It’s business as usual for us,” Bradshaw said.

The Sheriff added eviction notices will not be served for at least 60 days. Finally, the Sheriff warned of fake Health Department officials knocking on doors and offering to do swab tests for $100. Please, do not become a victim of these scammers. 

State Attorney Dave Aronberg noted some instances of price gouging have occurred. Please report any grossly inflated prices to 1.866.9NO.SCAM. (866.966.7226) 

Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks and Tax Collector Ann Gannon both noted their offices are closed to walk-ins, but online and phone services continue. 

The Constitutional Tax Collector noted that neither the County Commissioners, Tax Collector nor any localyl elected official has the authority to extend any deadlines for payment of property taxes.  

The property tax payment deadline is governed by Florida statutes. The adjustment of the payment schedule could be addressed by the Governor but we have received no word of his intention to do so.

The Tax Collector does not have the legal authority to extend this deadline.   By the end of March 90% of property taxes  are paid in Palm Beach County.  Taxes not paid are then  sold at a tax certificate sale to investors which in turn completes the funding of the budget. These funds are essential for the County and the various taxing districts to continue doing their jobs.

Clients may pay property tax online at www.pbctax.com [pbctax.com] or by mail. Please make your check payable to Tax Collector, Palm Beach County and mail it to: Tax Collector, Palm Beach County; PO Box 3175; West Palm Beach, FL 33402-3715

For more information or additional tax payment assistance, please call 561.355.2264.

County Administrator Verdenia Baker said other county government service levels have been modified, as well. Persons who have lost their job can contact CareerSource Palm Beach County at CareerSourcePBC.com for assistance

For up to date information on cases in Palm Beach County and Florida you can access that information at floridahealthcovid19.gov/  

Florida State Parks:

At the direction of Governor DeSantis and to successfully uphold CDC guidance to maximize social distancing and avoid gatherings larger than 10 people, Florida Department of Environmental Protection closed all Florida State Parks to the public effective Monday, March 23rd. 

DEP has taken many measures to continue providing resource recreation at our state parks during this time, such as limiting operating hours and reducing visitor capacity at parks with high visitation. Unfortunately, this has not resulted in the reductions needed to best protect public health and safety as Florida continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

DEP appreciates your cooperation and understanding as it works to prioritize the welfare of our communities and its staff. They look forward to welcoming you again to our award winning state parks as soon as possible. 

From Palm Tran:

Due to the Governor’s executive order to close a number of businesses across the state of Florida, Palm Tran will begin operating a Saturday schedule beginning Tuesday, March 24, 2020, until further notice.

Palm Tran will operate on a normal Sunday schedule on Sundays. Passengers will enter and exit through the rear bus doors only. If you are using a mobility device, such as a wheelchair, a Connection vehicle will be called and will arrive within 30 minutes after your regularly scheduled fixed route bus. No fare will be collected during the emergency.

Palm Tran Executive Director. Clinton Forbes, reminds everyone to practice good hygiene as they continue to make the health and safety of their employees and customers a top priority. He reminded everyone to follow Social Distancing guidelines recommended by the CDC and, if possible, maintain a six foot distance between yourself and others.

If you have questions or need further assistance Palm Tran is encouraging customers to either call the EIC 561.712.6400 or you can contact Palm Tran customer service at 561.841.4BUS (4287).

Security experts say a spike in email scams linked to coronavirus is the worst they have seen in years. Phishing emails written in English, French, Italian, Japanese, and Turkish languages have been found.

About the Author

- Robert Weinroth is a 27 year resident of Boca Raton where he is an attorney, businessman, former member of the City Council (where he served for four years) and currently serves as an elected member of the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Weinroth went to Boston’s Northeastern University where he earned a BSBA in Management. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor at New England School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the Supreme Court of the United States. Weinroth served as president and general counsel of Freedom Medical Services Inc, an accredited medical supply company in Boca Raton. FREEDOMED® represented the realization of an entrepreneurial dream. Weinroth, and his wife Pamela operated the company for 16 years, eventually selling the business in 2016. Weinroth takes great pride in his past work as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem for the 15th Judicial Circuit, advocating for the needs of abused and neglected children deemed dependent by the Court. After serving on multiple community boards and committees, Weinroth was elected to the Boca Raton City Council in 2014. During his tenure, he served as CRA Vice-chair and Deputy Mayor and was appointed to a number of county boards including the Boca Raton Airport Authority, the Palm Tran Service Board, the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency, the Treasure Coast Planning Council and was elected a board member of the Palm Beach County League of Cities. As a newly elected County Commissioner, Weinroth has been appointed Vice-Chair of the Solid Waste Authority, a board member of the PBC Transportation Planning Agency, and alternate representative on the Treasure Coast Planning Agency and several other county and regional boards. Robert, Pamela and their two dogs, Sierra and Siggy, are proud to call Boca Raton home.

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