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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    South Walton Fire District
    March 17 update

    SWFD Offices / Fire Stations Closed to Protect Public, Reduce Potential Spread of COVID-19

    Following the direction of Gov. Ron DeSantis, the South Walton Fire District (SWFD) is taking numerous protective actions to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19. The District will continuing to fulfill its core missions of protecting our citizens and visitors from fire, providing emergency medical services, beach safety & education, 911 communications, and engaging the public all while taking aggressive steps to ensure the safety of the public and our staff. Your safety, and that of our employees is of the utmost importance to us.

    In light of the continued threat of (COVID-19), our team has taken a number of precautions to maintain a healthy environment for all, and to maintain the continuity of operations. Our core value of commitment to our community remains at the forefront of everything we do, and we are taking every necessary step to provide the emergency services you rely on, with a minimal level of disruption as events unfold.

    Therefore, effective immediately - All SWFD offices, including all fire stations, service centers and our fire district headquarters in Santa Rosa Beach, are now closed to the public until further notice in order to preserve critical Fire/EMS services. The public is discouraged from visiting any of the district’s five (5) fire stations unless you have a fire or medical emergency. We appreciate your understanding and assistance as we all deal with the evolving COVID-19 situation.

    All public education programs, special events, and fire station tours have been cancelled until further notice.

    Administrative staff are equipped with the technology allowing them to work remotely for an extended period of time while continuing to fulfill Fire District functions.

    The Board of Fire Commissioner meeting scheduled for April 13th, 2020 at 4pm will be evaluated in the weeks ahead and held dependent on the current risk to the public.

    District facilities are receiving more stringent daily cleanings and additional protocols for employee health, including social distancing, are now in place.

    Beach Bonfires - Beach Bonfires have been suspended until further notice. This includes all annual and temporary permits.

    Construction Plan Reviews - Please continue to drop off any construction plans for review at the front of the SWFD Headquarters Building located at 911 North County Highway 393 Mon-Fri 8am-4pm by placing in the designated drop-off box. Your plans will be processed as usual and you will be notified via email once the review is completed.

    Impact Fee Receipts - Impact fees will be processed online only. You will need to submit a completed Walton County Building Permit Application electronically through info@swfd.org. Once we receive your e-mailed request, we will process the impact fee. Payment for impact fees will only be accepted remotely via credit card or by mailed check at this time. Once payment has been remitted, we will email your SWFD Impact Fee Receipt.

    Emergencies – As always, we are here to serve you. If you are experiencing an emergency, please dial 911.

    Our administrative staff may be reached at 850-267-1298 or via email through info@swfd.org

    SWFD is continuing to encourage all residents, visitors and guests to follow basic infection prevention guidelines including washing hands often, avoiding contact with sick people, social distancing, cleaning high-touch surfaces, and staying home when sick.

    For additional information on COVID-19, residents are encouraged to utilize the following resources:

    Walton County Department of Health - Florida Department of Health in Walton
    Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Call Center - 1.866.779.6121
    Florida Department of Health - www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/COVID-19
    Centers for Disease Control – COVID-19 Call Center available 24/7 +1 (866) 779-6121 or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

    Thank you for your understanding during this challenging time.
    Yours in service to our community

    Ryan H. Crawford
    Fire Chief / Administrator
    South Walton Fire District

    FB_IMG_1584481926785.jpg
     
  2. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    Walton County BCC – Updated 3-17-2020

    • Issued Local State of Emergency on March 16th, 2020 effective at 2:00 p.m.

    • The Senior Center in DeFuniak Springs, located on College Ave. has been closed and will not reopen until further notice.

    • The Walton County Housing Agency will continue to serve the tenants and landlords on the program via email and phone. Until further notice, the office will be closed to walk-in visits.
    • All County youth sports programs are canceled. This includes the use of any recreational fields by independent league sports.

    • Per Governor Executive Order - 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. All Florida bars and nightclubs are to close beginning 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17th and must remain closed for 30 days. 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 canceled for the remainder of March and the month of April. At this time, these meetings are expected to continue in May.


    The WCBCC has taken no action regarding the closure of Walton County’s beaches.



    Walton County Tax Collector – Updated 3-17-2020


    The Walton County Tax Collector’s office has been monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation closely and will continue to do so through the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and State and Local agencies. Today we identified the need to close operations at our Freeport location due to COVID-19 through March 31st. Additionally, we are doing everything we can to protect the best interests of our community and our employees while ensuring you have access to the services we provide.

    To help you with your service needs we kindly remind you of alternative methods to conduct business with our office. Our website www.waltontaxcollector.com is available 24 hours a day. There are exterior drop boxes at our North Walton and South Walton locations and phone services are available as well.

    Identification Card, Commercial Driver License, and Driver License expiration dates have been extended 30 days per Governor’s Executive Order 20-52, however this does not apply to existing restrictions or sanctions. 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 – including all driving, written, interpreter, CDL, and medical tests

    • Temporary suspension of all Concealed Weapon transactions

    • 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

    • During this time we will be serving Walton County residents only due to office capacity, potential overflow and staffing needs. Being committed to doing right by our customers and the communities we serve, we will continue to closely monitor the Coronavirus (COVID-19) through the CDC and other agencies as we do all we can to protect our customers and employees. Thank you for your understanding as we face this situation together.


    Walton County Sheriff’s Office – Updated 3-17-2020


    We are in unprecedented times. While continuing to serve the residents and visitors of our county, Walton County Sheriff’s Office has heard your concerns and we are listening.

    In the spirit of transparency and our commitment to maintaining a currency of trust with the public, we want to take this time to address you, our constituents. Although formal confirmed tests results are pending, Walton County Sheriff’s Office is aware of possible exposures to COVID-19 in our community. We are constantly monitoring this situation and putting necessary protocols in place to protect those who are awaiting test results and our first responders who continue to provide a service to our county. Plans include providing our employees with proper protection and procedures when answering calls for service and operating a COVID-19 specific apparatus to emphasize care and reduce exposure for patients and EMT’s.

    We recognize while there has not been a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our community, the possibility that may change is very real. That is why, following the Governor’s General Order regarding bar closures we will be working together with local businesses to put those practices in place. We applaud those communities and businesses that have already implemented CDC recommendations and encourage those who have not to prepare a plan of action to adopt guidance.

    Members of our agency are meeting daily in order to keep up with the ever-changing information regarding COVID-19. We would be remiss if we did not inform the public of our knowledge of possible cases in our community and emphasize, once more, the importance of protecting yourself, your loved ones, and each other during this time.


    The Walton County Sheriff’s Office will continue to lead from a position of strength, not fear. Our decisions and actions will be based on the available facts. Our preparedness and response activities rely on our community’s support. We’re all in this together.



    Walton County Property Appraiser’s Office – No New Information


    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 . 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



    Walton County Clerk of Courts – No New Information


    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.

    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)

    We encourage all of those that have the ability, to conduct any county business through the County and Constructional Offices online services.
     
  3. 30A Skunkape

    30A Skunkape Mr. Small Box

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    A drive from Seagrove into PCB last night showed that most of the restaurants en route were ignoring the 50% rule. I'm not naming names of the offenders as I'm sure this would be chaotic to implement on short notice. If the practice goes on, shame, shame, shame.
     
  4. outofadream

    outofadream Beach Fanatic

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    Have you driven the whole length of 30A especially as you mentioned Seagrove and Seaside? These Vacationers are from many metropolitan areas that are under work and school restrictions now and they are here spreading the possibility of the coronavirus, clearing out and hoarding everything that is on our grocery shelves. Our supermarkets are totally overwhelmed and understocked yet the commissioners sit on there fat a....Afraid to make decisions that benefit everyone including the La La Land people who are visiting here. The 30A area has become nothing but pure greed and allowing Drunken partying mobs of people who come here to pillage trash and disrespect the beautiful environment and the people who live here. I feel terrible for our small business owners because this is their total livelihood this is not corporate America but what has to be done has to be done and that is “Get these people outa here
     
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  5. justhavinfun

    justhavinfun Beach Fanatic

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    And I just saw a post on a Walton County Facebook site from Doc Smiley that implied a person in Walton County has a confirmed case of the virus. Did not specify touron or local...
     
  6. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Walton County School District
    COVID-19 Update March 18, 2020

    Please know that we are working on many topics that pertain to our students and employees over our Spring Break, especially as we continue to receive guidance from the Florida Department of Education regarding our school closure until April 15.

    The following are updates for parents and students:

    * We recognize the importance of being able to reach out to your individual school and hearing answers from a voice you know. Starting Monday, March 23, your school’s administration will be at work and able to answer your school specific questions via phone and email.

    * Food Service is preparing food distribution for students that will start Monday, March 23. Locations and times will be announced by Friday.

    * If your child has medication at school that you need at home, we will be arranging medication pick up starting Monday, March 23. Times will be announced by Friday.

    * The Walton County School District is working on continuity plans where education to students may be delivered in new and innovative ways, including virtually. We have great day-to-day plans for our students that include all core subject areas and guidance for parents. We also will have contact information for curriculum experts that will be available to assist students and parents. Walton’s continuity plan will be released in a video message by Superintendent A. Russell Hughes. Please look for the video on our website by Sunday.

    * Governor DeSantis has waived state testing and school accountability grades for the remainder of the 19-20 school year. Student grades and other data points specific to students will be determined in the coming days as school districts continue to receive guidance from the Florida Department of Education.

    * The Walton County School District does have an online system to answer any of your COVID-19/School Closure related questions. Please click on the “Contact Us” tab on the right side of our website to submit a question or concern. District staff is available to answer questions over Spring Break.

    Thank you for your continued support and understanding in this time of uncertainty. We appreciate everyone’s flexibility and patience.
     
  7. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    Walton County EM Activates Citizen Information Center Helpline

    In order to field basic questions about Walton County's COVID-19 response, the Walton County Department of Emergency Management has activated their Citizen Information Center Helpline.

    You may reach the CIC at 850-892-8392.

    If you are experiencing symptoms, please contact your primary care physician. If you do not have a primary care physician, you may contact the Walton County Department of Health at 850-401-6453.

    At no time should you call 911. 911 is for immediately life threatening emergencies only.

    If you have general questions related to COVID-19 and the virus itself, please contact the State COVID-19 line at 866-779-6121.
     
  8. Truman

    Truman Beach Fanatic

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    Even though you are under stress try to be respectful. Be Nice or Leave applies to locals AND tourists.

    :benice:
     
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  9. James Bentwood

    James Bentwood Beach Fanatic

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    I am just a local who wants to see us practice kindness and positivity for all in our community. That is what we do on this forum. Why the attitude? If Seaside closure is directly affecting you then you should take it up with your employer at Seaside. If you have an axe to grind post on Seaside's facebook page, not here.
     
  10. outofadream

    outofadream Beach Fanatic

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    I’m one of the nicest people I know Truman But when I encounter the horrendous behavior of VERY not nice people I’m going to speak up. I respect the place I live these folks do not Truman. I lived in Atlanta and Marietta Ga for 25 years so I know all about ill mannered people, entitled people and their children I’m speaking common sense. We are all facing a very serious health crises Truman
     
  11. 30ASRBeachBum

    30ASRBeachBum Beach Comber

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    Just drove through Seaside and Watercolor. It's mind-boggling how overrun these communities are with children, young adults, and their parents who simply can't be bothered with social distancing. The same people who will scream and cry when they find no ventilators or beds available in their local hospitals. The math is ugly and pretending it's not about to get way worse is insane. I heard someone today say that there are no cases of COVID-19 in Walton County. This is laughable considering there are virtually no tests available. If you think there are no carriers traipsing around 30A then you are kidding yourself. Social distancing is proven to work and a strong local government would enforce it. Strength and intestinal fortitude are sorely lacking in Walton County.
     
  12. justhavinfun

    justhavinfun Beach Fanatic

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    You should also add testicular fortitude to your statement as well - Our county government is extremely narrow minded and only concerned with the almighty tourist dollar and what they fail to realize is short term pain is much better for everyone then long term. Think of the economy in the summer when no one is here and no dollars are either. Such a sad state of affairs when people like our two newly elected officials can not look at the much bigger and broader picture.. But there is good news and that is gun sales are up so people with money and groceries will be able to defend themselves... Sad very sad
     
  13. Jenksy

    Jenksy Beach Fanatic

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    Most of our residents and visitors are Republican. When asked, most say they aren't that concerned about it.
     
  14. James Bentwood

    James Bentwood Beach Fanatic

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    Well they aren't leaving so maybe we should.
     
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  15. MrSunshine

    MrSunshine Beach Lover

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    It goes without saying - this Donald Trump's fault! I think the trade deal with China must have included the development and release of the cornavirus. Damn Republicans!
     
  16. outofadream

    outofadream Beach Fanatic

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    James… You don’t want to go over there from I’ve been there it’s ugly LOL
     
  17. outofadream

    outofadream Beach Fanatic

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    You don’t want to go where they are from is what I meant
     
  18. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Walton County BCC Directs Attorney to Draft Emergency Ordinance to Close Walton County Beaches

    During today's emergency meeting of the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (WCBCC), the WCBCC approved a motion to direct the County Attorney to draw up an emergency ordinance to close the beaches in Walton County.

    At their direction, the County Attorney's office will work on the ordinance and bring it to the board The board at 9 a.m. on Thursday March 19th as part of the recessed Emergency Meeting.

    The WCBCC will reconvene at 9:00 am on Thursday, March 19th in the DeFuniak Springs Boardroom located at 571 US Hwy 90 in DeFuniak Springs.

    In an abundance of caution, space will be limited. We will be practicing social distancing as per the CDC guidelines and will maintain the 6-foot rule.

    This meeting is open to the public. Please be governed accordingly.
     
  19. 30A Skunkape

    30A Skunkape Mr. Small Box

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    Closing the beach sounds radical. It IS radical. But there is no other way to break the cycle of outsiders coming here to overcrowd, transmit locally and export the virus back to wherever it is they came from. If not for the beach, is there REALLY any other reason to be here? I applaud our BCC if they follow through with this.
     
  20. dmb3535

    dmb3535 Beach Crab

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    I do not post often (actually my first on this board) but my family and I always read this board to keep up with everything because we rent a house for a month each year, the past 7 years. With that being said, I complete agree tat too many tourist are down here taking advantage in the wrong way and not appreciating the beauty of 30A. We rent just outside seaside in a pretty secluded area and def are practicing social distancing. If they actually shut down beaches, how strict will they be about people like myself, wife and baby actually being on beach? Do you all think it will be super strict or aimed towards the young spring breakers that are not practicing what they advise? Thanks in advance for your help and thanks for having such a beautiful stretch of land that you all make it what it is.
     

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