COVID-19: Latest South Florida Coronavirus Updates, Tuesday, March 31
Here's your daily roundup with what to know and what you may have missed about the COVID-19 pandemic in South Florida.
Tuesday, March 31
- The West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is donating $20,000 to Hospitality Helping Hands, a local non-profit providing free meals to food service workers and those who find themselves out-of-work. On Monday, March 30, Hospitality Helping Hands opened its first Downtown West Palm Beach location yesterday at Hullabaloo. (WPB)
Monday, March 30
- Gov. DeSantis announced today that Southeastern Floridians should continue staying home until April 15 in an effort to lessen the spread of COVID-19. The counties in reference are Broward, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, as the four have been greatly impacted by the virus. (Miami Herald)
- Earlier today, Gov. DeSantis also announced he is signing an executive order that brings a "shelter in place" order to Palm Beach County. Though the "shelter in place" order already exists in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, DeSantis said he wouldn't impose a curfew when expanding the order to Palm Beach and Monroe counties. (Palm Beach Post)
- Tropical Smoothie Café has pledged to donate 100,000 smoothies to healthcare workers and first responders during the coronavirus pandemic as part of its #InItTogether campaign. The fast-casual concept has delivered about 20,000 smoothies and counting to more than 20 states and 30 markets this week. First responders and hospital workers who would like to receive a smoothie can contact their local Tropical Smoothie Café to arrange a drop off to wherever they are. (PR News Wire)
- More than 200 students from the Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s Conservatory have been taking part in live online dance, musical theater, acting and voice classes from safety of their homes. “We’re honored and grateful that we have been able to continue to offer our students something that helps them feel normal during this uncertain time,” said Julie Rowe, the Theatre’s director of education in a press release. “In addition to the classes that our students love, this provides an opportunity for them to connect with their friends, talk about their day, complete dramaturgical projects using materials from home and more.” (Jupiter Maltz Theatre)
- TooJay’s Deli is implementing its new “Groceries ‘Too’ Go” program throughout Florida starting Tuesday, March 31 while supplies last. This offer allows guests to call in or stop by to stock up on high-quality chicken breasts, ground beef and salmon; eggs by the dozen; sliced deli meats; cheeses; breads; salads; toilet paper and paper towels; and more. There is a limit of four rolls of toilet paper and two paper towels. The program will be available at all TooJay’s locations except Pembroke Pines and Boca Polo Shoppes. (TooJay's Deli)
Friday, March 27
- The Busch Wildlife Sanctuary will be taking over its Facebook Live with a weekly schedule. Its educators will host talks about the sanctuary's animals, introduce crafts that can easily be done at home, and implement various educational activities for young ones and parents alike to learn together. Its schedule is the following:
- Daily: Wildlife Encounters at 3 p.m.
- Mondays: Alligator feeding at 4 p.m.
- Saturdays: Wildlife Encounters at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
- Fridays: Reptiles Rule at 12:30 p.m.
- Thursdays: Hunters of the Sky 12:30 p.m.
- Wednesdays: Storytime at 9:30 a.m.
Thursday, March 26
- The West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is bringing Downtown West Palm Beach into your home on Saturday, March 28. The DDA’s Saturday Soiree series will be livestreamed on Facebook Live beginning at 5:30 p.m. and it will feature a series of musical performances by local artists. Saturday evening’s headliner is Allegra Miles, a current contestant on NBC’s "The Voice" and Palm Beach County resident.
- The Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach is going virtual to provide kids, teens and adults content and activities while social distancing at home. The library also offers millions of free titles online in their digital library for cardholders. Enjoy e-books and audiobooks, streaming TV and movies, music downloads, news, databases, kids materials and more by signing up for a library card at wpbcitylibrary.org or calling 561-868-7701.
- Following guidelines issued Wednesday, March 25 by Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner, Palm Beach Outlets and Marketplace at the Outlets will be temporarily closed as of March 25 at 7 p.m. There are plans to reopen when the current ban is lifted. Essential businesses such as Whole Foods and PetSmart will remain open, and restaurants will continue to provide curbside pickup, takeout and delivery.
- Palm Beach Outlets’ OneBlood Donative Drive will continue to take place Friday, March 27 over the next four weeks. OneBlood will be at Palm Beach Outlets at the Congress Street entrance from noon to 6:00 p.m., Friday through Monday on the following dates: March 27 to March 30; April 3 to April 6; April 10 to April 13; and April 17 to April 20. (OneBlood)
- The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Capital One (SOBEWFF) has launched the SOBEWFF and FIU Chaplin School Hospitality Industry Relief Fund. The fund will provide financial support to independently owned and operated dining establishments in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties impacted by COVID-19. The fund kicked off with $1 million, which included a founding donation of $500,000 from FIU's Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. Additional financial support has been provided thanks to Founding Partners Bacardi USA, Badia Spices, Luxco, Mast-Jägermeister US, Shaw-Ross International Importers and Voli 305 Vodka.
Wednesday, March 25
Due to the COVID-19's impact on South Florida, Brightline is temporarily suspending services today, March 25, in an effort to flatten the curve. The final northbound departure from Miami departed at 5:50 p.m. “Like all businesses, we are operating in a period of uncertainty which may last several months. Although a difficult decision, we have decided to temporarily suspend Brightline service in the best interest of the entire South Florida community as we all seek to flatten the curve,” said Brightline President Patrick Goddard in a press release. “We are taking proactive measures with our Phase two construction teams in order to keep people employed and continue construction between Orlando and West Palm Beach. As we look ahead toward the economic recovery of Florida, projects like Brightline will help create jobs and a transportation network that will be more important than ever.” For more info, visit gobrightline.com.
- The Palm Beach County Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) office has closed for walk-in visits, but will still conduct intake interviews and help individuals over the phone.
- Thirty-seven scientists and counting at Jupiter's Scripps Research Institute are working on coronavirus research to establish vaccines, drugs and antibody treatments.
- Anyone with COVID-19-related questions Florida Department of Health's Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-779-6121, available 24/7, or email COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, March 24
- Jupiter Medical Center is offering treatment to COVID-19 patients. As of Tuesday, the hospital is implementing a no-visitation rule for patients, with exceptions being for births and pediatrics. (Palm Beach Post)
- B Hotels & Resorts—including properties in Fort Lauderdale and Disney Springs—have extended a rate of $79 per night plus waived resort fee for healthcare professionals and first responders; National Guard members, law enforcement; state or federal government. employees; airline crew members (at B Resort & Spa); journalists and others responding to COVID-19; displaced residents, visitors or college students; and people unable to return to their home due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, including anyone who had to leave their home due to an emergency. (B Hotels & Resorts)
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) administrator Jovita Carranza announced changes to assist borrowers who are paying back SBA loans from previous disasters. This means that deferments through Dec. 31 will be automatic, and those borrowing home and business disaster loans don't have to contact SBA for deferment requests. (PBC Gov)
- Restaurants are taking part in #TheGreatAmericanTakeout, a movement happening today that is encouraging guests to place at least one pick-up or delivery order today to show support of the restaurant community. Participating restaurants include Panera Bread; Metro Diner; Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill; Outback Steakhouse; Noodles & Company; Veggie Grill; El Torito; Jason's Deli; The Habit Burger Grill; Lemonade; Modern Market; and Chevys Fresh Mex.
- A Miami family is shedding light on a dark time—literally. Stephanie Sproel and her brother decked out their house in Christmas decorations after being inspired by the trending Twitter hashtag "#merryquarantine." “I feel Christmas lights are something that brings people joy,” Sproel told Local 10 News. “We walk around our neighborhood every single night with our dog, and we always do the same route. We are looking at the same stuff always, so this is something to break up that monotonous routine, and I think it will give people an excuse to get out and see the lights.” (WPLG)
Monday, March 23
- The Florida Department of Health broke down stats by city and county about the 1,007 confirmed cases of Florida residents who tested positive for COVID-19. (Florida Dept. of Health)
- All Florida state parks have been ordered to close. (FL State Parks)
- As of 9 a.m. March 23, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens is the newest drive-thru coronavirus testing location. A new testing site at Marlins Park is coming soon. (NBC6)
- All Palm Beach County boat ramps and marinas are closed to all recreational boating activities, which include boat launching, in/out storage activities and boat rentals. Exempt from this are licensed commercial fishermen providing food for restaurants and markets, support services and commercial marine operations. (PBC Gov)
- Employees impacted by business closures seeking help should visit nonprofit CareerSource Palm Beach County. (CareerSource PBC)
- Jupiter Tailors is making fabric surgical masks to help front-line doctors and nurses being affected by COVID-19. The company has reached out to Florida Nurses Association to help coordinate the collection and/or distribution of masks.
- Governor Ron DeSantis is considering implementing isolation shelters for those infected with COVID-19. Shelters would include empty hotels and convention centers. “The reason why you would want to do that is if someone comes in, tests positive ... if you send them back home, they’re likely to infect the people that they come into close contact with in their home,” DeSantis said. (Miami Herald)
- All 175 Florida state parks are officially closed as of Monday, March 23. (FL State Parks)
- Read our article on local restaurants offering delivery, takeout and curbside pickup in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
- Through March 29, Maltz Jupiter Theatre is offering streaming option for ticketholders of its postponed musical, "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." (Jupiter Theatre)
This article is being updated.