PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Memorial Day weekend is going to look a lot different in South Florida this year.
With an increase in staycations, Palm Beach County tourism leaders are helping businesses prepare for a safe weekend.
It’s a big weekend for The Ben Hotel in downtown West Palm Beach.
"It’s all about consumer confidence," said Bernardo Neto, the general manager of the hotel.
The luxury waterfront hotel owned by Marriott opened its doors in February.
"It was great. The local community really gave us a big hug," said Neto.
But one month later...
"Occupancy basically went down close to zero," said Neto.
The cause was the COVID-19 pandemic. Now as the county is reopening, so is The Ben Hotel, and management said safety is the priority.
"Instead of grabbing they handle, they would go and grab their door and pull it and then they can put their foot in the door and walk out," said Neto.
Neto added that operating an outdoor restaurant has made it easier to follow CDC guidelines. They’ve implemented safety protocols like paper menus and spaced out seating.”
"In order for us to get people back to travel and stay in hotels and go to attractions, the first thing we need to is regain the trust and confidence of the public," said Jorge Pesquera, the president of Discover the Palm Beaches.
The tourism agency released this video on Friday encouraging businesses and customers to take it slow this weekend.
"Our industry is ready to do this correctly, and let’s hope that some of the good news we’ve heard from other countries like South Korea, Germany, and so forth can also be applied here in South Florida," said Pesquera.