COVID-19 UPDATE #34
Mayor Keith A. James Delivers 2nd COVID-19 ‘State of the City’
WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (April 3, 2020) – At a press conference on April 3, 2020, West Palm Beach Mayor Keith A. James delivered his second COVID-19 ‘State of the City.” Mayor provided updates on the City’s response to COVID-19 and introduced new policy initiatives.
Mayor expressed his heartfelt thanks to the City’s 1700 employees including employees in Public Utilities and Sanitation departments. He thanked first-responders including the West Palm Beach Emergency Operations Team and West Palm Beach Police and Fire personnel. He also expressed thanks to hospital workers, medical staff, and professionals on the front lines.
“All of your tireless work, sometimes in the face of danger, is helping to keep our city running and our residents safe,” said Mayor James. “You are indeed my heroes. Thank you for all you do.”
Mayor also expressed his appreciation to the public for practicing social distancing. Mayor noted encouraging data showing that social distancing IS beginning to work in our community. He stated that we are not out of the woods just yet. He encouraged everyone to continue to practice social distancing and to follow state and county ‘Stay at Home’ orders.
Mayor announced the creation of the City of West Palm Beach Recovery Assistance Program in partnership with Valley National Community Bank and the Urban League of Palm Beach County. The West Palm Beach Recovery Assistance Program makes available to eligible West Palm Beach businesses short-term loans in amounts between $5,000 - $10,000 with minimal interest rates and generous repayment periods. More information can be found at the City’s website: http://www.wpb.org/our-city/mayor-s-office/covid-19-updates-and-information/covid-19-recovery-and-assistance-program
“We want to extend a lifeline to our business community to help small businesses recover from the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 and to help protect the jobs of West Palm Beach residents,” said Mayor James. “Making sure that money and resources will, indeed, get to our residents—especially those who are hurting the most—remains a top priority of my administration. I am working to ensure our residents have jobs, access to life’s basic needs, and –most importantly – hope for the future.”
Mayor also announced his intent to establish the “West Palm Beach Together” fund through the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties. He challenged the private sector to match the City’s contributions to date of $309,000 toward COVID-19 recovery efforts. Mayor will present the concept of the fund to the City Commission on Monday for approval. If approved, funds would be used to provide support in areas identified by the COVID-19 Response Unit, and WPB Together will be activated on Tuesday. More information about the “WPB Together” fund can be found at the City’s website, wpb.org.
Mayor gave an update on the COVID-19 Response Unit. The Unit has been working together to quickly launch, organize, and begin to support our residents, neighborhoods and businesses. The six different groups are focused on Housing & Homeless; Economic Support & Recovery; Seniors, Children & Families; Food, Water & Medicine; Community Services & Volunteer Engagement; Non-Profits & Faith Based Outreach; and Health & Public Safety. These groups have completed their recruitment of private sector volunteers to assist our city in this effort and have started meetings and begun their initial needs assessments. Mayor thanked participants for their service.
Mayor delivered these additional updates:
- Mayor intends to sign an Executive Order allowing public access to City facilities, including City Hall, by appointment-only (with the exception of public meetings and requests for public records). The public is encouraged to make an appointment to do business with the City OR conduct business online. There are drop boxes at the City Hall entry for Planning & Zoning, Permitting, Engineering. Public Utilities Bills payments may be placed in a drop box located on the Banyan side of City Hall. To call City Hall, please dial (561) 822-1200 (TTY 800-955-8771).
- The City is beginning to implement tele-commuting for some public meetings. More details will be shared as available.
- The swearing-in ceremony for Commissioners-elect Christina Lambert, Kelly Shoaf, and Christy Fox is scheduled for April 9, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. This will be a “Virtual Swearing-In,” and the public is encouraged to witness this online or on the City’s TV channel, WPB-TV.
- Volunteers wanting to assist in COVID-19 recovery efforts may share their interest with the City on the City’s website. Please visit: https://www.wpb.org/our-city/mayor-s-office/covid-19-updates-and-information/city-volunteer-page2.
For more information, please contact the City of West Palm Beach at (561) 822-1200.