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By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter

DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – The Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce is looking to encourage residents to support the community and buy local. Their new program, “Keep Locals Afloat”, is a listing of local business promotions, and a social media hashtag to share photos and stories: #KeepLocalsAfloat.

Chamber of Commerce, Delray Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida
The Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce is looking to encourage residents to buy local with the new program “Keep Locals Afloat”, press photo.

The Chamber shares that Delray Beach is home to thousands of locally owned, small businesses, and most of these have suffered during the coronavirus pandemic, which lead to months of closures.

“The COVID-19 crisis has been tough on everyone. We need our community to come together to support our locals and keep them afloat during the summer months”, explains Stephanie Immelman, President and CEO at the Delray Chamber.

Adding, “Delray Beach is known for its charm and authenticity. It resonates with our visitors. The only way to keep that charm is to support our local businesses.”

“Around 93 percent of Delray Beach’s companies are considered small businesses,” explains Immelman. “They are the backbone of our community. By supporting our local businesses we are supporting each other and our very special community.”

The Chamber is urging the community to make a special effort to visit local attractions such as the Putt N Around or Delray Yacht Cruises. And for those putting off travel, plan a Staycation at one of Delray’s unique hotels.

Tessa Hodge of Courtyard by Marriott stated, “We were happy to host our fellow Chamber Members for the Keep Locals Afloat photo shoot and highlight our rooftop pool and bar. Our hotel and The Reef Rooftop Bar is open for business.”

“We encourage everyone to visit Marriott.com to learn more about the safety protocols and cleanliness standards that we have implemented to keep guests and associates safe. We look forward to welcoming everyone back,” Hodge says.

Cranes Beach House, Keep Locals Afloat, Delray Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida
The Chamber is encouraging the community to plan a Staycation at one of Delray’s unique hotels, photo by Crane’s Beach House Boutique Hotel & Luxury Villas.

Delray’s restaurant scene is always bustling, even at the current fifty percent occupancy rate allowed in Phase 1 reopening. The Chamber says that Delray Beach’s restaurants are following all CDC regulations to keep their patrons safe and healthy.

Immelman says “I believe the businesses are doing a good job of following the CDC guidelines. They definitely do not want to be shut down again.”

She admits, “I do wish the public would embrace mask wearing more widely. I believe it will help to keep everyone in business if we support them in this way. We want to keep our local businesses open.”

The Keep Locals Afloat savings are not limited to tourism offers. Many of the Chamber members are offering discounts, special rates and free consultations on everything from loans to cleaning services, dental visits, business services and even face masks. All of these specials can be found at www.DelrayBeach.com/Float.

The Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce has existed for nearly a century and is comprised of nearly 800 businesses and professional firms.

Membership may be tax deductible as an ordinary and necessary business expense, not as a charitable contribution, and are non-refundable. Annual dues start at $350 for the ‘Solopreneur’ and go up for various tiers of businesses.

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