A Message From Mayor Carl Woods
April 8, 2020
Dear Friends and Neighbors:
We hope this message finds you doing well and adjusting to life under the current circumstances. Although government activity around COVID-19 has ramped up in the past few weeks, our first City communications to the public regarding COVID-19 concerns began as early as March 2, 2020. Since that time, the City Manager and staff have taken considerable time to distribute information related to City operations to the local media and to the public.
As we find ourselves in unprecedented times, I thought I’d give an update on how the City has adjusted to the coronavirus pandemic. Each day we see new statistics that show the number of cases in PBG. It is important to note that many of the health department reports are for zip codes that we share with other cities, so knowing the exact number of cases by municipality is difficult. The most important thing to realize at this time is that the coronavirus IS here in Palm Beach Gardens. It is a real threat and your family must be vigilant in its efforts to stay safe and healthy.
If you are keeping track of local and national news reports, you are likely seeing an upward trend in the number of documented cases. This is likely due to the increased amount of testing that has been occurring. The Centers for Disease Control cautions that many people carrying the virus do not exhibit symptoms and may be unaware that they have it. Early reports compared coronavirus symptoms to that of the flu. With more cases and more time to research this virus, we now know it to be much more highly contagious and deadly than the flu. We expect to see the number of confirmed cases and deaths continue to rise and peak around late April to early May.
Again, this is the reason for the County and governor’s orders to stay at home and not interact socially unless absolutely necessary. Per the emergency order currently in place, residents are asked to remain at home, except to acquire food, health and safety services and supplies. We are now at the point that only essential workers and businesses are continuing to operate. Non-essential businesses have closed at this point, but critical health and public safety personnel are serving the community. Your City Police and Fire Rescue personnel continue to contribute their critical roles, along with medical and healthcare workers. I’m proud to say that we have had no overwhelming public safety or health care issues in Palm Beach Gardens up to this point.
In Palm Beach County, all public and private parks have been closed, including parks and pools within gated communities. All public and private golf courses, pools and tennis clubs are closed, and recreational boating on County waterways is prohibited. All City restaurants have closed for on-site service and seating; however, many continue to offer delivery and take-out options. The City’s Sandhill Crane Golf Club has closed, but the golf club restaurant The Dancing Crane is open and operating under safety guidelines. They have adjusted operations to provide curbside services for orders made by phone or online.
The essential services of the City are continuing. Our City Council met on Thursday, April 2 to conduct business, with many Councilmembers joining via Zoom. Other advisory board and committee meetings have either been cancelled or are being done remotely or via telephone. All Leisure Services operations and events, including the Gardens GreenMarket and Riverside Youth Enrichment Center have been cancelled or closed. While most of our City staff are working from home, they can still be reached via email and can receive voicemail messages. Our Staff Directory on the City’s website has the most up to date contact information and employees are searchable by name. Our Planning & Zoning and Building Departments continue to review permits and plans for a limited number of hours each workday by using a drop box located at City Hall. This process does create a delay, so we ask for the public’s patience as we continue to provide services as quickly as possible. If you are not sure who to contact, please call (561) 799-4113 or use the Staff Directory for email addresses.
The ever-changing circumstances surrounding COVID-19 have required constant updates. The City has created a dedicated webpage at www.pbgfl.com/coronavirusfacts with information on City closures and important health announcements, including our Fire Rescue Department’s encounters with patients under quarantine with COVID-19. We encourage our residents to visit this page to stay informed and stay healthy. This is also a great time to sign up to receive notifications through our website so that you can receive important communications from the City via email. If you are on social media, we are communicating with you that way, too.
Although this crisis has created inconveniences that have required us to adapt, it is well worth the effort to reduce the burden on our healthcare system by slowing the spread of the virus. The most important thing we can do together, is stay apart.
Mayor, City of Palm Beach Gardens