Walton County COVID19 Updates

Discussion in 'All About SoWal' started by Teresa, Mar 15, 2020.

  1. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Walton County COVID19 Updates

    This forum will include all relevant udpates pertaining to Walton County and the State of Florida. Please feel free add any useful local updates here, or ask/answer questions.

    For local issues, opinions and further discussion beyond official updates, please use the SoWal Lounge Forum - must be registered and logged in to post in forums and to read Lounge posts.

    Thank you. We are all in this together.

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    SoWal Community Forums & Platforms | ongoing udpates on specific topics:

    Walton County updates (this forum):
    https://sowal.com/forum/threads/walton-county-covid19-updates.99138/

    Florida State Parks udpates:
    Florida State Parks: Now CLOSED in our area

    Food & Dining updates:
    Dining and Food

    Help local businesses:
    SoWal Businesses: Help small businesses get through this!

    Business announcements:
    Business, Goods and Services

    Event updates:
    forum: Events and Activities
    calendar: Events

    SoWal Newsletter
    latest: The Situation in South Walton
    signup: Sign Up For The SoWal Newsletter

    SoWal Live Beachcams:
    SoWal & 30A Live BeachCams

    SoWal Home Page News:
    South Walton Beaches Community Website

    SoWal Facebook udpates (sharing local business news and updates, and photos)
    https://www.facebook.com/sowal/
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
  2. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    EMERGENCY MEETING NOTICE
    Please be advised that the Walton County Board of County Commissioners will hold an Emergency Meeting on Monday, March 16, 2020 at 2:00 PM. This meeting will be held at the Walton County Courthouse, in the Commission Boardroom, located at 571 US Highway 90, DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433.

    The purpose of this meeting is to provide the public and the Walton County Board of County
    Commissioners with updated information regarding the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis.

    This meeting is open to the public. Please be governed accordingly.
     
  3. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Regarding drive through testing, I have received an update from Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast. The parking lot testing is not yet available here in Santa Rosa Beach.

    More details to come...

    TESTING
    Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital first testing site goes live Monday March 16 in Pensacola. The hospital is working to open additional locations as quickly as possible.
     
  4. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    CDC recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the U.S. More Information on Mass Gatherings
     
  5. Sweet Pot Pie

    Sweet Pot Pie Beach Comber

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    I heard beach access in Seaside is closed until further notice. Is this true?
     
  6. liz coats

    liz coats Beach Lover

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    I just read that Seaside is closing until April. Any other closings?
     
  7. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Yes.

    Seaside News: Seaside Commercial District is Closing Temporarily Mar 16, 2020
    Learn more: Seaside | Seaside Commercial District is Closing Temporarily

    March 16, 2020

    Seaside, Fla. – Today, Seaside Community Development Corp. (SCDC) announced the closure of Seaside Commercial District, including dozens of retail stores and services, with the intention to save lives. In a letter written to key stakeholders below, the leadership team of Seaside made their purpose known: health and safety are a priority.

    “Thank you for your perseverance through these unprecedented times. Over the past few days additional information about the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has resulted in professional consultations with multiple infectious disease experts among your SCDC leadership team. You surely recognize that the guests and visitors of our holiday town have grown to believe Seaside is a refuge; everything we hoped it would be, but not logical under the current conditions.

    Our town founders and leadership team believe the only decision that makes health and safety a top priority is to close Seaside until April 30, 2020. Our hope is this decision will help save lives and help give medical professionals the space they need for those infected. Beginning at 5 p.m. today our town will close beach accesses in our commercial district. Effective immediately, all Spring event programming is suspended.

    The formal closure of Seaside commercial area will happen Saturday, March 21st at noon. Some merchants may choose to close immediately upon this notice; However, we will not mandate closure until Saturday at noon. At that time, our food & beverage merchants may remain open for to-go service only, unless otherwise directed by the state or federal government.

    Unquestionably, Seaside has taken a leadership role in South Walton. These past few days we have made every effort to stay focused on making our decision based on one purpose: health and safety. We are all in this together. We will find solutions to problems we will incur and work tirelessly to stay in communication. We certainly do not have all the answers. This is only the first communication you will receive; we will continue to communicate throughout this week.”

    More information to follow
     
  8. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Many event cancellations in beach towns, while merchants and amenities are staying open for now. Seaside merchants will close although their restaurants will offer some kind of pick up service, but we don't have details yet. More info to come. Thankful for Seaside's leadership at a time when we truly need it.
     
  9. Sweet Pot Pie

    Sweet Pot Pie Beach Comber

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    Completely stinks. Our trip is likely going to be cancelled. BUT, the safety of our friends of South Walton and visitors comes first. This will pass, and I look forward to coming back.

    By the way - thank you Kurt for keeping this form accessible for us - it helps.
     
  10. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    Walton County BCC Issues Local State of Emergency due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus); Other Actions Taken

    During the Emergency Walton County Board of County Commissioners (WCBCC) meeting held today, March 16, 2020, the WCBCC issued a Local State of Emergency (LOS). This LOS will be in place for seven days and must be re-issued on a weekly basis.

    In addition to the issuance of a LOS, the WCBCC has taken the following actions:


    * Cancellation of all BCC and TDC permitted outdoor events and beach activity ordinance special events.
    * Cancellation of all work-related travel outside the county for BCC employees without special permission from Director and County Administration.
    * Suspension of the rental of all public facilities.
    * Extended all current dog beach permits for 8 weeks. No new permit processing until June 1st.
    * Extended all driving on the beach permits until August 1st. Beach permit lottery application process will begin June 1st.
    * All Walton County Volunteer Board meetings have been cancelled for the remainder of March and the month of April. At this time, these meetings are expected to continue in May.

    The WCBCC took no action regarding the closure of Walton County's beaches.


    The WCBCC encourages all Walton County citizens and visitors to be mindful and adhere to all direction distributed by the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.

    Protect yourself and your community from COVID-19. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay home when you are sick.<http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/COVID-19/_documents/covid19-daily-numbers.txt>

    FDOH COVID-19 Information Page<COVID-19 | Florida Department of Health> (Updated Regularly)
    CDC COVID-19 Information Page<https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html> (Updated Regularly)

    We encourage all of those that have the ability, to conduct any county business through the County and Constructional Offices online services.



    Information from other Walton County Constitutional Offices


    Walton County School District

    The Walton County School District is currently developing a plan to help feed students the week of March 23-27, our state mandated school closure. We know families and employees expected to be out March 16-20 for Spring Break and may be traveling safely to visit family and friends as anticipated. Therefore, we believe our students are in good hands with families this coming week.

    However, beginning the week of March 23-27, the WCSD is working on a plan for food distribution and service because as always we are committed to the health and safety of our students. Superintendent A. Russell Hughes states, "We do not want any Walton County Student to go without food."

    On Monday, March 23, the WCSD will provide one meal for students, lunch, and starting Tuesday, March 24 through Friday, March 27, the WCSD will provide two meals a day, breakfast and lunch. Time and locations are being determined; we will release more detailed information as soon as plans have been solidified.


    Walton County Tax Collector

    * ID & DL Expiration dates extended 30 days per Governor's Executive Order 20-52 - but does not apply to existing restrictions.
    * Registration renewals have not been extended at this time


    The following processes have been implemented for the safety of our citizens and employees and to allow ample time to properly clean and disinfect our offices.


    * Temporary suspension of all DL testing - includes, driving, written, interpreter, CDL, medicals
    * Temporary suspension of all Concealed Weapon transactions
    * Due to adjacent county tax collector office closures, we may have to limit the number of individuals in our lobbies.
    * We encourage people that do not need to physically be in our office to not come in. Most of our services are available through our website www.waltontaxcollector.com<Walton County Tax Collector
    >
    * Serving Walton County residents only.


    Walton County Sheriff's Office

    In order to limit access and potential COVID-19 exposure to our citizens and to our staff and the inmate population; we will be temporarily suspending the use of our in-lobby video visitation monitors. Video visitation services will remain available for access via computer or mobile device to accommodate visits. In addition, we will be restricting civilian volunteer access for programming purposes until further notice. Finally, only those individuals who are statutorily obligated for registration and fingerprinting services will be permitted to enter the jail facility; and only after screening.


    Walton County Supervisor of Elections

    Florida has NOT suspended the election on Tuesday, March 17th. Polls will be open from 7am - 7pm as always. You must vote at your home precinct polling place.

    We will have sanitizing resources at each polling place and workers will be frequently cleaning surfaces. However, if you have your own hand sanitizer and feel the need to use it, I would encourage you to bring it! Also, you may wish to bring your own pen instead of using ours. Secrecy sleeves will be optional as well.

    When voting, observe the CDC-recommended distance (3-6 feet) from other individuals as much as possible.

    For more information, visit VoteWalton.com, or call (850) 892-8112.


    Walton County Property Appraiser's Office

    The Walton County Property Appraiser's Office is currently conducting normal operations while monitoring the status of COVID-19, also known as Corona Virus.

    The health and safety of our citizens and employees remains of utmost importance. We aim to continue to provide first-rate customer service at our office locations and encourage the use of the property appraiser's website, www.waltonpa.com<Walton County Property Appraiser's Office> . You may contact the Property Appraiser's office by phone, 850-892-8123, or 850-267-4500, or by email, waltonpa@co.walton.fl.us<mailto:waltonpa@co.walton.fl.us>


    Walton County Clerk of Courts

    Due to the recent concerns with the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the recommendation for social distancing, Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles T. Canady issued an Administrative Order (AOSC20-13) on March 13, 2020, suspending all jury trials in Florida's Court System starting Monday, March 16, 2020, through Friday, March 27, 2020.

    Anyone with a summons for jury duty dated between March 16, 2020, and March 27, 2020, are not required to appear as jury trials during this time have been cancelled. If you are unsure if your summons is impacted by this Order, please call 850-892-8115 to speak to a Deputy Clerk.

    Walton County Clerk & Comptroller will continue to mail out summons forms between March 16th and March 27th to avoid delay to future court processes once the suspension of all jury trials is lifted. If you receive a summons during this period, the Walton County Clerk & Comptroller recommends calling 850-892-8115 to confirm whether you are required to appear. All scheduled court hearings and appearances remain in effect unless specifically excused by the court.

    The Walton County Clerk and Comptroller's Office is currently open to serve the public. Additionally, many Clerk services can be accomplished online and on the phone. The following services are offered online:

    * E-Notify - Using an automated system, registered users can receive free text and email reminders of upcoming criminal court events. More information is available on Clerk's website home page.

    * Online Court Record Access - Public can request to view cases/redacted filings online. Please visit the Clerk's website - select Public Records - then select Court Records. If a record is unavailable online, please follow further instructions specified under Public Records tab - then select Offline Public Record Request Court Related.

    * TurboCourt DIY Services - Customer fee-based form preparation service, currently $10.40 per petition, now available through TurboCourt for Family Law and Landlord Tenant Disputes; however, there are no fees required when using Turbo Court forms for preparation of Domestic Violence Injunction petitions. More information is available on Clerk's website - select TurboCourt DIY.

    * Florida Courts E-Filing Portal - More information and instructions are available on the Clerk's website - select E-Filing tab. The link is: Porto Website Template.

    * Self Service Forms and Instructions are located on the Clerk's website - Select Court Services - then select Self Service.

    * Pay Walton County traffic citations online - Traffic infractions may be paid within 30 days of violation online at MyFloridaCounty.com - Pay County Services Online.

    * Pay Walton County non-criminal and county ordinance violations within 30 days of receipt online at Find Cases - Court Payments.


    Additional Information and Cancellations

    * Seaside closing some operations - Seaside Update
    * Beginning March 16, the Bayou Arts Center will be closed and the CAA team will work remotely remaining available via email, phone and virtual meet-ups.
    * All meetings, classes and workshops at The Bayou Arts Center will be postponed and rescheduled for a later date.
    * The Foster Gallery at Grand Boulevard will be temporarily closed beginning March 16.
    * The Under the Sea fundraiser for the Underwater Museum of Art scheduled for Thursday, May 7 will be postponed for a later date.
    * ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival scheduled for May 9 & 10 is rescheduled for October 10 & 11 in Grand Boulevard Town Center.
     
  11. Ty Webb

    Ty Webb Beach Lover

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    So...is Seaside going to not charge rent to their merchants during this time? Anyone in the know?
    Also, is Seaside going to compensate all of the workers at these businesses?
     
  12. James Bentwood

    James Bentwood Beach Fanatic

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    Why are you asking?
     
  13. lenzoe

    lenzoe Beach Fanatic

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    Can we make it clear that the beaches ARE still open? The statement that Seaside is closing private accesses is being wildly misconstrued. Public beaches are OPEN, and public beach accesses are OPEN.

    Events, venues, and shops in the area may be closing. Eating establishments may be doing carryout. Grouping is ill-advised. But I don't think that social distancing means that sitting on the beach and enjoying the sun is prohibited in any way. Is it?
     
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  14. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Walton County public beaches remain OPEN at this time, with the exception of Seaside. Many of our beach towns have announced that their spring events are canceled while merchants and restaurants remain open. But any of this can change.

    Florida State Parks remain open but with shorter hours. Now 8am til 5pm.

    Also, new:
    Friends of Topsail Hill Preserve State Park:
    Current campers can stay until Friday at 1:00 p.m. (check-out time). After that all Florida State Park campgrounds and cabins are closed until May 15th.
     
  15. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    A good point. Getting out and enjoying nature is healthy for body and mind.

    Each Street in Seaside has its own HOA which owns and controls its own access separate from Seaside Community Development Corporation which owns town center commercial. These private beach pavilions on each street are for owners and guests of homes in Seaside.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2020
  16. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    From Governor Ron DeSantis Press Conference this Morning

    Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday that restaurants in Florida will be able to stay open but only be allowed to fill to half capacity and all tables must be at least 6 feet apart.

    DeSantis said he is encouraging restaurants to go to take-out only if they want to.

    All Florida bars and nightclubs are to close beginning 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17th and must remain closed for 30 days.

    DeSantis said he wants restaurants to stay at a 50 percent capacity limit, and keep tables 6-feet apart. He also said restaurant workers will need to undergo health screenings to ensure they can work around food.

    Florida bars to close, restaurants to limit capacity
     
  17. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Walton County Emergency Management
    Tuesday March 17

    COVID-19 Update @ 10:15 a.m. March 17th

    As of 10:00am, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Walton County.

    The Walton County Department of Health is testing as per the protocol set forth by the Centers for Disease Control. The testing criteria is attached.

    In order to provide information to the public, there are several methods of communication to get questions answered.

    If you are experiencing symptoms and you feel that you may have a case of COVID-19, please follow the following procedure.

    1. Do not call 911. 911 is for immediately life threatening emergencies only.
    2. If you have a family physician or provider, please contact your provider first.
    3. If you do not have a family physician or provider, you can contact the Walton County Department of Health at 850-401-6453.

    If you do not have symptoms and would like to ask general questions regarding COVID-19, the State of Florida has set up a hotline to answer those questions. Please contact 866-779-6121 or email COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

    Walton County Department of Health - Florida Department of Health in Walton

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  18. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    Walton County tourism partners and committee members,

    I want to share an update following the Walton County Board of County Commissioners’ emergency meeting yesterday, as well as this morning’s announcement by Governor Ron DeSantis. We have also provided a list of cancellations announced by our tourism partners. As we all try to react appropriately to what is an unprecedented event, it is our goal to protect our locals and visitors alike, while supporting our partners as best we can.

    As you adjust business hours or offerings, please email matt@visitsouthwalton.com so that we can share your message and help keep everyone updated in this rapidly changing situation.

    Please see the update below and attached for your convenience.

    Regular updates will be provided by Walton County Emergency Management, at www.WaltonCountyEM.org

    Best Regards,

    Jay Tusa, CDME, CTIS, TMP
    Executive Director
    Walton County TDC
    (850) 267-1216
    Jay@VisitSouthWalton.com



    Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announcement:

    This morning (3/17) Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference in which he announced the mandatory closing of all Florida bars and nightclubs, beginning at 5 p.m. He is mandating that restaurants limit seating to 50-percent of capacity, with staggered seating to distance diners from each other. On the beach, he recommends groups of no more than 10 people, with each group keeping 6-feet of separation.


    Update following the Walton County BCC Emergency Meeting

    During the Emergency Walton County Board of County Commissioners (WCBCC) meeting held March 16, 2020, the WCBCC issued a Local State of Emergency (LSE). This LSE will be in place for seven days and must be re-issued on a weekly basis.

    The WCBCC has taken the following actions:

    • Cancellation of all BCC and TDC permitted outdoor events and beach activity ordinance special events.
    • Cancellation of all work-related travel outside the county for BCC employees without special permission from Director and County Administration.
    • Suspension of the rental of all county owned public facilities.
    • Extended all current dog beach permits for 8 weeks. No new permit processing until June 1st.
    • Extended all driving on the beach permits until August 1st. Beach permit lottery application process will begin June 1st.
    • All Walton County Volunteer Board meetings have been cancelled for the remainder of March and the month of April. At this time, these meetings are expected to continue in May.
    The WCBCC did not close Walton County’s beaches.

    The WCBCC encourages all Walton County citizens and visitors to be mindful and adhere to all direction distributed by the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.

    Protect yourself and your community from COVID-19. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay home when you are sick.

    FDOH COVID-19 Information Page (Updated Regularly)

    CDC COVID-19 Information Page (Updated Regularly)


    Additional Information and Cancellations (as announced by tourism partners)

    • Seaside has announced closing some operations - https://us18.campaign-archive.com/?u=70034f1e917bdb0ebc322ba87&id=811dcf009b
    • South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival has been cancelled
    • The Sandestin Wine Festival has been cancelled
    • The Village of Baytowne Wharf has cancelled upcoming events
    • The Hub 30A is suspending their schedule of events through March 31
    • The Merchants of Rosemary Beach has cancelled upcoming events through March 31
    • Beginning March 16, the Bayou Arts Center will be closed and the CAA team will work remotely remaining available via email, phone and virtual meet-ups.
    • Gulfplace has cancelled their Wine Walk (Usually held on Thursdays)
    • WaterColor is suspending Art in the Park, Easter Sunrise Service, and the Easter Egg Hunt and Toss
    • Emerald Coast Theatre Company is closed through March 31
    • Beginning Friday, camping in Florida State Parks is suspended until May 15
    • All meetings, classes and workshops at The Bayou Arts Center will be postponed and rescheduled for a later date.
    • The Foster Gallery at Grand Boulevard will be temporarily closed beginning March 16.
    • The Under the Sea fundraiser for the Underwater Museum of Art scheduled for Thursday, May 7 will be postponed for a later date.
    • ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival scheduled for May 9 & 10 is rescheduled for October 10 & 11 in Grand Boulevard Town Center.
     
  19. Ty Webb

    Ty Webb Beach Lover

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    Are you a Saeside executive or a Seaside merchant? If not, why are YOU asking?
     
  20. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    BREAKING

    Governor Ron DeSantis Issues an Executive Order Regarding Bars, Beaches and Restaurants
    Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis issued an Executive Order that will reduce density and crowds in restaurants, bars, nightclubs and beaches to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

    Bars and Nightclubs
    Under the direction of Governor DeSantis, all bars and nightclubs throughout Florida will close for the next 30 days. Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) will be enforcing and providing further guidance.

    Beaches
    The Governor is directing parties accessing public beaches in the state of Florida to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance by limiting their gatherings to no more than 10 persons.

    Restaurants
    Restaurants across the state of Florida will now be required to limit customer entry to 50 percent of capacity. Seating must be staggered and limited to ensure seated parties are separated by a distance of at least six feet, in accordance with CDC guidelines. Restaurants are encouraged to remain open and expand take-out and delivery services. Additional information will be provided by DBPR.
     

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