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West Palm Beach tourism leaders react to coronavirus concerns this Independence Day

'This is just a new way of serving our community'
Posted at 5:21 PM, Jul 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-02 18:51:06-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.  — This Fourth of July is going to look a lot different in south Florida. As coronavirus cases continue to rise, the tourism industry could continue on a decline.

At the Ben Hotel in downtown West Palm Beach, you’ll notice masks are an essential part of the uniform.

“This is just a new way of serving our community,” Bernardo Neto, General Manager said.

Neto said for months they’ve been taking extra precautions to keep guests safe.

“The fact that guests get a sanitizing wipe on the table and we signal all the tables that have been properly sanitized with hospital grade sanitizer,” Neto said.

Even still he says the hotel is only about half full— Since the pandemic started a New Report by Oxford Economics shows Florida is tied for second-most losses in state and local tax revenue with more than 1.3 billion in losses.

“We just want guests to really have a safe stay,” Neto said

Next-door along the waterfront, the manager of the West Palm Beach Visitor Center Kami Kreaps says their priority to is safety, but there are still some options this holiday weekend, starting with catamaran cruises.

Kreaps said Friday and Saturday they are offering happy hour cruises.

“We’re also doing kayak and paddleboard rentals all weekend long so if you can’t go to the beach you can come out and kayak and paddleboard with us,” Kreaps said.

There will not be a fireworks show on Flagler Drive this Fourth of July, however, there will be two displays at undisclosed locations so residents in West Palm Beach can enjoy the show from a private residence.