In Florida, tourism brings in billions of dollars in annual revenue each year. It also provides jobs for thousands of citizens statewide. When the pandemic hit in March, this industry, along with many others, was brought to a virtual standstill. Hotels that are usually bustling with activity saw reservations canceled, and they, along with popular restaurants and entertainment venues, soon closed their doors. Here are some of the ways the Palm Beach County hospitality industry is adapting to the current climate.
The Reopening of The Breakers
In mid-March, the historic Palm Beach hotel, The Breakers, closed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. In late May, the hotel reopened, with new health and safety protocols in place. These measures include efforts such as valets not opening car doors to limit surface and face-to-face contact with guests, taking extra precautions to disinfect baggage carts, and having glass partitions between counter staff and guests. The Breakers reopened during Memorial Day weekend after accepting reservations on May 8 with a 45% occupancy and partial staffing.
Guest Health Attestation
- Presently, the hotel is requiring all guests to completes a “Guest Health Attestation” before entering the resort or its facilities. The form advises that the hotel is restricting access “from anyone with knowledge that they have a COVID-19 infection or have recently been exposed to the virus.”
- Guests are required to affirm they have not had specific symptoms for the past 14 days and have not had any close contact with a person who is confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19. Additionally, they also cannot have traveled in the past 14 days from “areas of substantial community spread requiring a quarantine by the Florida Department of Health” or internationally, based on the U.S. State Department’s Level 4 Travel Advisory for all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. If travelers can’t meet these requirements, they must reschedule or cancel their reservation without penalty.
Other Safety Measures
- Pursuant to Palm Beach County Order 2020-12, the Breakers requires that facial coverings be worn by all persons when entering, exiting and moving throughout its indoor, public common areas, restaurants and retail stores. There is an exception for children under the age of two (2) and other specific circumstances listed within the Order.
- Some of the other hotel’s precautions are as follows: If guests become ill with COVID symptoms, the hotel will have then quarantine in their rooms until they can leave the property. Employees have their temperatures taken daily upon arrival to work. Anyone with a temperature above 100.4 will be sent home. Elevators at the hotel can only be occupied by one family, up to four, or by one individual at a time. There are hand-sanitizing stations throughout the hotel, and buffet dining options are not currently being offered. Pool seating has been configured six-feet apart, and the fitness equipment in Ocean fitness is being sanitized regularly for health and safety. Additionally, the Family Entertainment Center remains closed.
- Some other Palm Beach County hotels have also started accepting reservations and guests. Both the Brazilian Court and Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa are open. The Chesterfield Palm Beach reopened on June 4, and The Four Seasons Palm Beach Resort will begin accepting guests on August 1. Each hotel is likely to have its own guidelines and rules regarding safety precautions. However, many are likely to be similar to those that have been instituted by the Breakers.
Phase 2 Reopening
Florida has entered its Phase Two reopening plan, allowing 50% occupancy in bars and 50% indoor seating in restaurants. Many Palm Beach County eateries transitioned to offering curbside and delivery services during Phase One reopening. Community dining establishments that give patrons the flexibility of eating in or having delivery or curbside appear to be adapting well to the new circumstances. As conditions change, providing patrons room to operate within their comfort zones can help keep operations moving.
Contact a Florida Board-Certified Real Estate Attorney
At Rabideau Klein, David E. Klein Esq. and Guy Rabideau, Esq. are dedicated, Palm Beach County Florida Bar Board-Certified Real Estate Attorneys with extensive experience assisting clients with multi-million-dollar property transactions. We have the expertise and knowledge you need to ensure that your property interests are protected. Contact Rabideau Klein today to discuss your real estate legal needs.