July 24, 2020 – PALM BEACH COUNTY – Today, the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County (BDB) brought together hundreds of business leaders throughout the County to directly bring updates regarding COVID-19. The biggest takeaway: We must all work together to get through this.

Here’s what you need to know from the BDB’s Tele Town Hall Call today:

Dr. Donald Fennoy, Superintendent, The School District of Palm Beach County:

  • New start date for schools is August 31 and the last day will be June 18
  • The delayed start will prepare them to get ready for the reality of distance learning
  • Shared how the decision was made, based on data and community feedback
  • A lot of new purchases have been made to ensure safety and technological upgrades
  • The new goal is to give every student in the district a computer to access learning. Recently, 80,000 computers have been orders and 35,000 computers are in the  warehouse
  • The District is installing wifi on busses to help students gain access to the internet
  • The school schedules will be the same for students as if they were still in the classroom
  • Classes will be recorded and joined in by students live
  • The District will continue to feed students. More than 4 million meals have been provided

Verdenia Baker, County Administrator, Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners:

  • Getting Palm Beach County residents back to work is a top priority
  • The County’s CARES funding received 5,000 applicants as of June 12 and about $43 million has been issued to small businesses
  • Masks being mandated resulted in positive cases declining over the past few days.
  • There’s been a significant increase in permits being issued, totaling 5,700 for June
  • This number of permits is similar to June 2019, bringing new hope that businesses are recovering
  • Restaurants have been required to close by 11:00 p.m. daily

Jorge Pesquera, President and CEO, Discover the Palm Beaches:

  • The current occupancy for hotels was 38% for June, up from May’s 27%, and also up from April’s 20%
  • There’s been a 30% decline in domestic travel, 63% decrease in international travel, and a $1.2 trillion economic loss
  • The hotel industry has taken a cautious and careful approach to open safely
  • All hotel construction projects that were in the pipeline are still on track. Most recently, The Ben and The Canopy hotels opened
  • The PBC Convention Center is ready for activity and was actually the first facility to be accredited by GBAC (Global Biorisk Advisory Council Star Accreditation)
  • The second quarter of 2021 will be the main recovery period for conventions and meetings.
  • Discover the Palm Beaches launched “The Palm Beaches Pledge” encouraging businesses to follow CDC guidelines, positioning the sector for an early and successful recovery

Jodi Cross, Regional Director, Palm Beach County, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association:

  • The organization has been educating throughout the State of Florida on best practices
  • They launched “The Seal of Commitment” where 100 restaurants and hotels are working to get certifications, which will build consumer confidence
  • A recent study shared that 44% of Americans are planning a vacation in 2020, which brings hope to the industry
  • Hotels are currently focused on leisure activities, local stays, reunions, and weddings
  • They’ve learned that the #1 thing customers want to see is transparency and cleanliness
  • There’s a “Restaurant Revival Plan” pending for CARES Act funding

The Business Development Board continues to host bi-weekly Tele Town Hall Calls to inform the community on the latest updates. Moderated by Corey Saban, President of, he concluded with how the community can help. Order take out, book a staycation, purchase gift cards, and support local business.

About the Business Development Board: The Business Development Board of Palm Beach County is the official public/private economic development organization for Palm Beach County and Enterprise Florida.  Founded in 1982 as a not-for-profit corporation, our primary purpose is to attract and retain new industry, business investment, high quality jobs and workforce development through corporate relocations, expansions and international trade. During the past five years, the BDB has assisted companies that have created more than 12,822 direct jobs with average salaries greater than $69,062, resulting in more than $777 million in capital investment to Palm Beach County and an economic impact that exceeds $6.87 billion.  Additional information can be found at the BDB’s web site,