Published On: Fri, Sep 25th, 2020

Update from PBC Commissioner Robert S Weinroth

The Board of County Commissioners (BCC) at its meeting on August 25th directed staff to prepare a comprehensive plan for Phase 2 openings for review at the next BCC meeting on September 1st.  With respect to in-person instruction in our public schools, while the BCC’s decision may be deemed by the school board as a prerequisite to their plans for that step, we have no direct control over that decision. It is at the sole discretion of the school board and the superintendent of schools to determine when and how classroom instruction will be delivered. 

The September 1st meeting is open to the public. I encourage you to attend the meeting or view it online here or on Channel 20. 

PLAYGROUNDS OPEN

The county has issued an executive order permitting all public & private playgrounds and natural areas to open effective at 5:00 pm today. This includes:

  • Skate parks and bicycle tracks (with supervision as determined by park mgmt)
  • Playgrounds, water playgrounds, play and exercise equipment may be open;
  • Water fountains may be open;
  • Volleyball courts may be open;
  • Campgrounds may begin taking reservations for stays on or after October 1, 2020;
  • Supervised sports facilities with lights may be open after sunset; and
  • Adult sports activities and leagues are permitted.

For more details on the guidelines concerning COVID-19, click here.

CHILD CARE for WORKING FAMILIES

Child care scholarships are now available for qualifying families with school age children grades K through 5 participating in the school district’s distant learning curriculum. Additionally, the county’s Youth Services 

Department will provide child care centers with headsets to allow students to concentrate on their individual lessons in congregate settings.For more information on this program, please visit www.elcpalmbeach.org/.

EVICTION MITIGATION ASSISTANCE

The county has partnered with the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County and is offering free assistance and representation with landlord/tenant matters and past due payments through the CARES Act Rapid Response Eviction Assistance Project (RREAP). The program term runs from August 1 through December 30, 2020.

The services include:

  • pre-suit mediation between landlords and tenants
  • legal advice regarding the eviction process
  • referrals for rental assistance
  • preparation of responses to an eviction lawsuit
  • assistance in negotiating repayment plans, and
  • court representation 

For more information, click here

HURRICANES: BE READY!

With the visions of Hurricane Laura hitting the Gulf Coast, the importance of preparedness is critical. Everyone should be prepared to survive on their own for at least 72 hours. 

Click here for the county’s comprehensive guide to hurricane preparedness including shelters (special needs, pets, etc.).

Emergency officials will be communicating with county residents using Facebook and Twitter. My office will also be posting on my Facebook page. 

Emergency App: There is a free emergency appPBC DART, that provides vital information such as storm surge, evacuation areas, flood zones, shelter locations, grocery and building supply stores and gas stations with emergency generators.  

Shelters: A hurricane evacuation shelter is a refuge of last resort, a place to go if you can’t stay at home, with a relative, friend, co-worker or at a nearby hotel. For more information on shelter supplies, click here.

CENSUS DEALINE LOOMING:

ENUMERATORS FOR DOOR-to-DOOR

The 2020 Census deadline is looming and the county’s census response rate is only approximately 60 percent. Notwithstanding the most recent news that the process may be extended until the end of October, If you are one of the 600,000 residents yet to respond, please take a minute to complete the census now. 

  • Respond online at: www.my2020census.gov.
  • To respond by phone, call 800.330.2020. 

Census takers (enumerators) are now visiting homes of residents throughout the county who have not responded yet. 

How to identify a census taker: 

  • Check they have a valid photo ID badge (with a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date).
  • They may carry bags and other equipment with the Census Bureau logo.
  • If there are any doubts, you can contact the Census Bureau at 844-330-2020 to speak with a representative. 

All census takers will be wearing masks and social distancing

To avoid fraud, the Census Bureau will never ask for:

  • your Social Security number
  • your bank account or credit card numbers
  • money or donations 

BOCA RATON INLET BRIDGE CLOSURE

The Boca Inlet Bridge is closed for a maximum of 60 days for painting operations by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Traffic will be detoured to Federal Highway via East Palmetto Park Road and Hillsboro Boulevard.For more information on this project, please click here.

BOCA HELPING HANDS – VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

Boca Helping Hands is looking for volunteers to help feed the community. Shifts are available Monday through Saturday from 8:30AM to 12:30PM at their East Boca facility at 1500 NW 1st Ct Boca Raton, 33432, and their Boynton Beach location at the First Baptist Church at 301 N Seacrest Blvd Boynton Beach, 33435, on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9:30AM to Noon.

Both locations have drive-through operations, and they are following CDC guidelines for social distancing, requiring masks, and taking daily temperature checks for all volunteers and staff.If interested, or for more information, please click here.

CONVALESCENT PLASMA NEEDED for

COVID-19 PATIENTS

There is a critical need for convalescent plasma. People who have recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies that attack the virus in their plasma that can help patients still fighting the coronavirus. For more information and/or to donate, check with local hospitals such as Baptist Health (786.467.5400) and/or OneBlood (407.858.4939).

PALM BEACH COUNTY COVID APP AVAILABLE

All CombatCOVID app users who have been in close proximity to a COVID19 positive person will be notified by a push notification recommending they get tested immediately, without revealing anyone’s personal identity. Suggested locations for testing are also provided. 

STATE and FEDERAL COVID19 RESOURCES

For updated information on state and federal programs please click here

COVID TESTING

Homebound Resident Testing

Residents eligible for in-home testing include homebound elderly or individuals with disabilities who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and cannot leave their homes to access one of the drive-thru or walk-up test collection sites. 

Residents who believe they are eligible for the in-home testing option should call the Palm Beach County Emergency Information Center (EIC) at 561.712.6400 for a pre-qualifying assessment. The testing line is open from 8AM to 5PM, Monday through Friday.

Boca Raton at FAU Tech Runway

The drive-thru testing site is located at the FAU Tech Runway on the north end of the FAU campus. The address is 901 NW 35th St Boca Raton, 33431. Residents should enter the testing site from Spanish River Blvd.

Appointments are required. To make an appointment, call 1-800-209-7919 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Testing is available to anyone over the age of 12, with or without COVID-19 symptoms. 

South County Civic Center 

The drive-thru site at 16700 Jog Road, Delray Beach, is by appointment only. Call 800-209-7919. Testing is available to anyone over the age of 12 with or without symptoms. 

West Palm Beach at the FITTEAM Ballpark

Drive-thru testing is available by appointment only Tuesday through Saturday between 8AM and Noon. Call 561.642.1000. Participants may be any age and need not be symptomatic. Antibody testing is also available by appointment only.

Rapid antigen testing is now available at the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches for anyone 65 years of age or older, 18 years of age or younger, or anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19. Appointments are required. Registration can be done online at tourhealth.com or by calling 866.416.6341. Online scheduling is preferred. 

For complete list of over 60 testing sites  Interactive Testing Map

COVID EDUCATION and COMPLIANCE TEAM

The county’s COVID Education Compliance Team is working diligently on educating businesses and bringing them into compliance with state and local enforcement orders required by Governor Ron DeSantis.

For more information or to register a complaint, call 561-24COVID (561.242.6843), or email [email protected]

ASSISTANCE for RENT and UTILITIES

The following program has been temporarily suspended to allow sufficient time for processing current applications. 

The Palm Beach County Community Services Department is helping residents who have experienced loss of income, reduction in hours, or unemployment as a result of the COVID19 pandemic receive funds for one-time rental and/or utility assistance . The funds are for applicants who reside in apartments, houses, townhouses, or mobile homes.

Assistance will be provided only for past-due rents and/or utilities. The due dates must be after March 1, 2020 and before December 30, 2020. 

  • Online application for all services including rent and utilities: www.pbcgov.com/OSCARSS
  • Phone number for rent: 561.904.7900
  • Phone number for utilities: 561.355.4792
  • Phone number for seniors EHEAP: 561.355.4746

To learn more, visit pbcgov.com/communityservices

Courts have temporarily suspended hearings on evictions, and a moratorium has been placed on utility shutoffs. 

Limited extension of mortgage foreclosure and eviction relief until Sept. 1, 2020 by Gov. DeSantis. 

FPL ASSISTANCE

Trouble paying your FPL bill because of COVID?

FPL pledges to continue working with you to avoid turning lights off for nonpayment — always a last resort. Call 800.226.3545. 

FOOD DISTRIBUTION

Palm Beach County Food Bank: The Palm Beach County Food Bank is working diligently with its partner agencies to ensure food is distributed to those in need. For available food distribution sites, please click here.

Feeding South Florida: Feeding South Florida’s calendar of food distribution is at www.feedingsouthflorida.org/covid19. These sites provide groceries in a drive-thru style. The list is updated daily. 

School District Feeding Sites: Free food is available at 133 schools. 70 schools have distribution on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11AM to 1PM., and 63 schools have distributions on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 5PM. 

For the full list of School District and Community Feeding Sites visit: PalmBeachSchools.org/FeedingSites.

For assistance on applying for the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), please click here

LIBRARIES

The Palm Beach County Library System is now offering expanded Wi-Fi signals throughout the parking lots, and remote printing services. For more details, click here

Library hours of operation are: 

  •  Monday, Thursday & Friday: 10AM – 6PM
  •  Tuesday & Wednesday: 10AM – 8PM
  •  Saturday: 10AM – 5PM
  • All locations are closed on Sunday

(Hours vary for locations in the Glades and Tequesta. For details visit pbclibrary.org/).

The Bookmobile is running on a limited schedule. Virtual activities and programs are available through Zoom. For more information, click here

SENIOR ASSISTANCE

For assistance with food, food stamps, testing sites and questions on Medicare or Medicaid, call the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) at 866.684.5885 Monday through Friday from 8AM to 5PM. 

Seniors who are in immediate crisis or need someone to talk to after hours, or are in a food crisis, are encouraged to call 211. 

Aging and Disability Resource Center Helpline 

Seniors 60+ are encouraged to call the ADRC Helpline 1(866) 684-5885, the gateway to services for seniors in need of meals, electric bill assistance, respite for the caregiver, adult day care, in-home services, personal care, food stamps (SNAP), extra help for prescription drugs, COVID-19 information and questions on Medicare or Medicaid.

Specially trained counselors are available to help in English, Spanish or Creole Monday through Friday, 8AM to 5PM. 

Seniors registered through the agency helpline and served by the Mae Volen Senior Center and the Palm Beach County Division of Senior Services are able to receive food on a scheduled basis in a “drop and go” fashion without leaving their cars.

211 HELPLINE and CRISIS LINE

211 provides crisis support, suicide prevention, and assistance with available resources and services for people of all ages in multiple languages.

Dial 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 898211. 

211 staff also responds to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.8255 and the Disaster Distress Helpline at 800.985.5990

211 Sunshine is a free program that provides a daily phone call with a friendly hello and well-being check for seniors who are feeling isolated and alone. The Sunshine program is for individuals 60 or older, or those who are housebound or disabled. Dial 2-1-1 or click here.

Free, Confidential and Available 24/7

PALM BEACH COUNTY VICTIMS SERVICES

The Palm Beach County Victim Services & Certified Rape Crisis Center helpline (561.833.7273) is available for information, options and support. Services are free, confidential and private.

CAREER SOURCE JOB SEEKERS and EMPLOYERS

CareerSource, the county’s central career center at 3400 Belvedere Rd in West Palm Beach, is open with limited services from 8AM to 3:30PM weekdays.

Career centers in Delray Beach remain closed until further notice.

The organization provides virtual services online, by email and phone.

Job Seeker Services: Job search registration/assistance and access to computers, printers, phones and faxes are available on a limited basis for those without computer access or limited computer skills.

A one-hour time limit for these services will be enforced due to capacity restrictions. Customers with access to computers are encouraged to use them instead of coming to the center, and call or email if they require assistance.

Employer Services: Many businesses are ramping up to rehire staff as well as hire new candidates. The CareerSource Business Services staff connects employers with qualified candidates for job openings – at no cost. For more information, click here or call 561.340.1060.

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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