National Party Planner: “This Is Outrageous.” Fears of Super-Spreader Event.
County Previously Visited Marriott Property. Marriott International, Dimension Development Won’t Comment On Boca High Student Event
BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — The Boca Center Marriott at 5150 Town Center Circle was visited by the Palm Beach County COVID Education and Compliance Team in late summer, amid reports that people were gathered — en masse — without masks. The hotel was allegedly not following Palm Beach County rules, regulations, CDC guidelines, or protocols promoted by Marriott International (NASADQ: MAR). (News app readers access our full report).
The allegations, which generated a case number and a visit from county inspectors, are similar to those now being made following an unsanctioned “prom” at the hotel held for Boca Raton Community High School students. There is concern that the event was a “super-spreader” of COVID-19. According to multiple sources, as many as 200 “couple’s” tickets were sold to the weekend event which was largely unmasked. Elegant Parties of Broward County confirmed its involvement in the event which was publicized to so many, 5th Avenue Nails advertised its “Boca High Prom” services.
Marriott International Vice President for Communications Sara Conneighton refused to discuss the event, telling BocaNewsNow.com that what happens at the hotel is up to its franchise owners, Dimension Development.
Dimension Founder and CEO Sam Friedman told BocaNewsNow.com on Tuesday that he would investigate and provide information. He had not responded as of 5 p.m. Wednesday. Dimension is based in Louisiana.
Boca Center Marrriott Hotel General Manager Ron Wichowski continued to avoid calls from BocaNewsNow.com on Wednesday.
The event was allegedly staged by a student’s mother who is a party planner. That information led Victoria DeSilvio, founder and CEO of the nationally recognized “Victoria DeSilvio Group” to tell BocaNewsNow.com that the mother should be banned from future party planning.
“This so called party planner should be expelled from our industry,” said DeSilvio. “Our industry is hurting so bad. No normal person would do this.”
DeSilvio also said Marriott should have never permitted the event to take place.
“Shame on the hotel and the hotel’s manager,” she said.
Marriott as a company has promoted cleanliness, safety and COVID protocols since COVID began impacting travel in March of 2020. Conneighton, the Vice President of Communications for Marriott, refused to respond to follow up questions about the Marriott “commitment to clean,” and why the brand permitted a largely unmasked high school party at a major hotel in an area still being hit hard by COVID-19.
Boca Raton Community High has one of the largest, cumulative COVID-19 infection counts of any school in Palm Beach County.
While no one is accusing the students of doing anything wrong — most aren’t in a position to enter into a contract with a hotel — there are questions being asked about the parents responsible for the event.
Palm Beach County School District Spokesperson Claudia Shea told BocaNewsNow.com that the event was unsanctioned, did not use school funds, was not run by the school, but that the school is now providing COVID-19 tests to any student who fears they were infected as a result of the party.
It will take roughly two weeks to determine whether it led to COVID-19 spread.
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