With the safety of our members in mind, the Palm Beach County Bar Association has been in communication with the Palm Beach County Convention Center concerning the recent news story regarding an individual who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus after visiting the Palm Beach County Convention Center on February 28th.
Specifically, we were informed by the Convention Center that the risk of an attendee contracting the virus, based on this individual’s presence in their facility over a week ago, is low. Further, as the Conference is scheduled to take place on March 20th, well outside the two week incubation period set forth by the CDC, the 2020 Bench Bar Conference will take place as scheduled on Friday, March 20th. We will, of course, continue to monitor this situation and any changes or updates will be communicated to our members.
Please see the letter below written by Dave Anderson, General Manager of the PBC Convention Center:
|Late Saturday night, the Palm Beach County Convention Center was notified by officials from the Florida Department of Health (FDH) that an individual who recently tested positive for COVID- 19 was a guest at a conference hosted in the building on Friday, February 28.
Through the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the FDH informed us that the individual contracted COVID-19 at a conference in Boston immediately prior to arriving in West Palm Beach and was exhibiting symptoms while onsite. It was also reported that another convention attendee who spent time with the individual has also shown symptoms of COVID-19, and they are currently on self-quarantine awaiting testing in the coming days.
It is the highest priority of the Palm Beach County Convention Center and Discover The Palm Beaches to ensure the health and safety of our guests and employees. We are currently working closely with the FDH and the Palm Beach County Health Department to understand potential impacts to our guests. However, the FDH has assured me that the current risk of contracting COVID-19 based on this individual having been present in the building seven days ago is low.
As we continue to closely monitor the situation, we still stay focused on upgraded daily cleaning of the building and preventative measures in the front- and back-of-the-house. Prior to and during your event, we have been thoroughly and frequently disinfecting and sanitizing the building, including elevator buttons, escalator handrails, and bathrooms.
Your guests may notice heightened food service policies to reflect a proactive approach to housekeeping, sanitation, hygiene and food handling:
· All condiment tables will be removed
· All food products will be removed from the front concession stand counter and placed on the back counter to create an air barrier
· All employees will wear protective gloves at all times
· All napkins and condiments will be handed by staff wearing protective gloves
· All packaged snacks and whole fruits will also be handed by staff wearing gloves
· Hand sanitizer stations will be added to all F&B locations
· Additional housekeeping staff will be walking the building and wiping down solid surfaces and food service areas throughout the day
· Staff will review proper hand washing techniques and instructions on how to avoid touching face and mouth areas
· Utility staff will re-wash all banquet plates and serving utensils, and sanitize all chafe rs and coffee urns in the morning
· All solid surfaces in kitchen, prep areas and concession areas will be wiped down and sanitized
Additionally, we have implemented the following preventive measures as it pertains to all future food and beverage events:
· All buffet stations will have sneeze guards over utensils, plates, chaffers and any open food displays
· All serving utensils will be changed out every 30 minutes
· An employee will serve guests from the buffet stations at all functions
· Single-use plate and utensils will be used when serving buffets
· During all coffee breaks, PC creamers and sugars will be present under a sneeze guard with serving tongs
· For all concession hosted events, there will be a sneeze guard over the condiment stations with tongs to retrieve condiments. Tongs will be switched out every 30 minutes.
· All employees are required to wear gloves and change whenever they change their job duty, or touch any part of their body or clothing
I wanted to provide you the most up-to-date information as quickly as possible, and will continue to share new facts provided by the local and state health authorities as they become available. Please know that I am here to answer your questions and make sure your guests feel informed.
For information on COVID-19 in Florida: www.FlHealth.gov/COVID-19.
The staff at the Palm Beach County Convention Center and Discover The Palm Beaches is committed to the safety, well-being and enjoyment of our guests, and we are thankful for your business.