Published On: Tue, Mar 24th, 2020

Update on COVID-19 Response from your Palm Beach County Commissioner

By: Robert S Weinroth

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Information is changing rapidly, and my office is working with local officials to keep the public informed with up-to-date information, also posted on my Facebook page. 

We urge everyone to please follow the recommendations from local, state and federal officials. 

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Stay home, if possible. 

Stay away from large groups of people and limit group sizes to 10 or less. Social Distancing is key to slowing the transmission of the virus.

I cannot overemphasize the following admonition — If you’re sick, stay at home, avoid crowds and call your doctor or healthcare provider.

Your compliance with these steps are designed to protect the elderly and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes, who are more likely to develop serious complications if they become ill. 

If you have COVID-19 symptoms such as a fever, chills, shortness of breath and/or sore throat, please call your doctor or health care provider.  Do not go to the emergency room.  

Drive through testing is only by appointment only through your health care provide and/or the Palm Beach County Health Dept. (see contact info below).

Also, Baptist Health Care On Demand is available for online screening via their app: Baptist Health Care On Demand with code: Care19. 

If you have returned from any internationaltravel or a cruise within the last 14 days and you are sick, call your doctor, health care provider or county health department. 

Palm Beach County Health Department

COVID-19 call center (24/7): 866-799-6121 or email: [email protected]

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a news conference Monday he does not have plans to place the state under a shelter-in-place due to coronavirus. However, anyone flying from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to Florida will be placed under a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

The Governor issued Executive Order 20-80 whereby he has directed that “all persons whose point of departure originates outside the State of Florida in an area with substantial community spread, to include New York Tri-State Area (Connecticut, New Jersey and New York), and entering the State of Florida through airports to isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into the State of Florida or the duration of the person’s presence in the State of Florida, whichever is shorter.”  

The Order, which took effect this morning at 12:01AM, exempts airline employees and people performing military, emergency or health response. 

County closures 

Almost all county departments are still operating (e.g., Engineering, Planning, Zoning and Building Departments, Palm Beach International Airport, Parks and Recreation, and the Solid Waste Authority, just to name a few). 

·      Palm Tran is operating on a Saturday (reduced) schedule and all fares have been waived 

·      Libraries are closed (virtual library is open)

·      Parks are open but with restrictions

·      Boat ramps and marinas are closed for recreational use.

Other Closures

·      Restaurants/food establishments are closed – delivery and take out only 

·      Certain state and federal offices are closed to walk-in traffic – check websites for details 

·      All movie theatres, concert venues, playhouses, bowling alleys, arcades, gyms, and fitness studios are closed. 

For more information on closures, go to: Discover.pbcgov.org/coronavirus/Pages/default.aspx.

Supermarkets, retail stores that sell groceries and pharmacies remain open at reduced hours. 

Job Loss Benefits/Job Seekers

CareerSource Palm Beach County

Central Career Center 3400 Belvedere Rd West Palm Beach, FL 33406

561.340.1060

CareerSource Palm Beach has a dedicated team of career counselors, business coaches and training providers to help area businesses stay competitive though talent acquisition, and job seekers find new jobs through career assessments, training and employment assistance. 

At this time, and due to high demand, CareerSource is continuing to offer in-person services for unemployment claims assistance only at its Central Career Center in West Palm Beach. All other services will remain available online/email/phone. 

State of Florida loss of job/reemployment financial assistance:

Claims must be filed online, but if you need assistance or additional information you may contact Florida RA for:

·      General information: 800.204.2418 or www.floridajobs.org

·      How to file a claim: 800.681.8102 or www.floridajobs.org

·      To Create a PIN: 800.297.0586

·      Expect long delays in handling phone calls due to the expected surge in the number of applicants.

Important links and hotlines to other agencies

Call 211 for mental health and community services such as food assistance, medical clinics, foreclosure prevention, parenting info on developmental concerns (Help Me Grow), special needs and senior services. 

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Free meals for kids during school closures: Call 211 or text FLKIDSMEALS to 211-211 for food distribution locations.

Click here for Palm Beach County School Board Food Distribution sites and information  

Federal Disaster Loans for businesses, private nonprofits, homeowners and renters at US Small Business Administration

Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program at FloridaDisasterLoan.org. For eligibility requirements and necessary documentation, please visit the Florida Business Disaster website at Floridasaster.biz. 

Price Gouging

Call the Florida Attorney General at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226) to report an incident. During a state of emergency it is illegal to charge unconscionable prices for goods or services following a declared state of emergency. If there is a large difference between the prior price and the current charge, it is considered price gouging.

Animal Care and Control

As COVID-19 concerns rise, Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control has implemented new protocols and limited services to the public in an attempt to keep pets and pet owners in the community safe and mitigate exposure. These new changes will go into effect Monday, March 23.

·      All spay and neuter surgeries for the public, including TNVR (trap, neuter, vaccinate, return) will be put on hold for a minimum of two weeks.

·      Appointments for owner surrendered animals will no longer be accepted until further notice. The shelter is asking pet owners to hold onto their pets or make other arrangements for the time being. (Exceptions will be made for emergency situations.)

·      All volunteer orientations and acceptance of new volunteers will be put on hold.

Other services such as low-cost vaccinations, micro chipping and pet adoptions are still available with no changes to hours of operations at this time.

Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control is located at 7100 Belvedere Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33411. 

Business hours are Monday – Friday 11AM to 6PM, Saturday 10AM to 5PM, and Sunday 11AM to 4PM.

With regards to keeping pets at home safe, there is no evidence pets can contract or spread COVID-19. That being said, Animal Care and Control encourages pet owners to follow recommended health and hygiene guidelines and wash hands before and after handling pets. 

It is recommended that you prepare a disaster kit (similar to those used for hurricane season) and stock up on pet food and essential supplies and medication for your.

For additional information and updates, please visit www.pbcgov.com/animal or call 561-233-1200

If you are sick or not feeling well, but need assistance with your pet, please refrain from entering the shelter and call 561.233.1200, extension 0 for assistance.

Volunteer Opportunities

 Please Stay Healthy!

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. Commissioner Weinroth serves as County Vice-Mayor and has been appointed 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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