March 29, 2020 - Week 3 in Florida
Every week feels like a month since the coronavirus came to Florida. Disney World has been closed for only 2 weeks, yet it feels more like 2 months! As a native Floridian who lives in Central Florida, Disney is part of our culture. Going to the food festivals, getting excited about new openings, and just enjoying a day out for fun, is part of our daily lives. So when it closes for 2 weeks with no opening in sight, it feels like a big part of our culture is missing. And the same goes for the beaches! So many of us have grown up going to the beach every weekend. The beaches are in our genes! And we are starting to miss them! And while I'm on the subject of Floridian cultural habits, events & festivals and hiking at the parks in the springtime offer Floridians our last chance to spend time outdoors before it gets too hot. I wish I had taken one last hike before the parks closed.
Disney has announced that they will be closed until further notice. The Orlando Repertory Theatre has called off the rest of their season as have many other theaters and shows.
Most of the beaches are now closed in Florida.
Most events & festivals are now rescheduling for the fall or cancelling this year altogether.
State Parks completely closed on Monday, March 23rd. They initially stayed open to allow people to utilize the outdoor space, but because some Floridians have proven they can’t be trusted not to congregate in large groups, the state parks had to close to all.
The governor has decided not to issue a statewide stay-at-home order, allowing instead that each city or county enact their own guidelines and orders. And Cities across the state are issuing varying forms of lockdown orders. Some are more strict with curfews, others are a bit looser. For example, Seminole county issued a Social Distancing order requiring businesses to operate at no more than 30 percent capacity and people remain 6 feet apart.
Anyone coming from New York, New Jersey or Connecticut are required to stay-at-home. Those coming in from the state border are being tested.
Because the Florida Keys are now closed to travelers, Monroe County has set up two checkpoints into the Keys. In order to cross, you must be a resident.
And while not a Florida event, it’s worth mentioning, the Olympics is postponed until 2021.
Spring Break has ended for most Florida school districts and online learning has begun. Parents are encouraged to set up regular times for their kids to work on their schoolwork to stay current in their education. Florida Virtual School is also accommodating students and working directly with schools for middle and high school students for online learning options.
Acceptance of a new normal seems to be the united feeling across most people we have talked to. People are no longer doubting the seriousness of this sickness and are accepting that they need to stay home.
While some are still working and have a paycheck, others are about to come into conflict with having to pay their mortgage payment or their rent. Next week will be a telling time for all those who can’t pay to see how the mortgage companies and property managers handle this crisis.
I'm curious as to why the health department is still asking these same questions?
#1 Have you traveled outside the U.S. in the past 2 weeks.
NO. No one has! The coronavirus is HERE now and has been for more than 2 weeks.
#2 Have you been in contact with someone who has it?
I Don’t know! We have been in contact with so many people and we have no idea if they might have had it.
#3 Do you have a temp over 100 degrees? Always a good question.
I really feel like the questions need to be changed now. These made since in early March, but COVID-19 is here now and it is not just people who have traveled overseas. And if you know if you've been in contact with someone who has it? The chances are strong that we all have in some aspect. I understand the health department is doing the best they can, and that tests are limited, but these questions, seriously are no longer valid for determining if someone has the virus.
The Relief package was signed to help all Americans get through this. We are hopeful small businesses will be able to recover. Please support your small local businesses. Order takeout, shop (if they are still open) at the small mom and pop retailers, and support those who are hit hardest by this pandemic. While we can’t congregate in large groups, we can come together as a community and help those in need.
Stay strong and share your stories and what’s happening in your local community with us.
Follow our weekly Florida Cornovirus Blog here to see what's happening around the state and how your fellow Floridians are being affected. Contact us and share what's happening in your business, school, family, or community.
Remember to check the Florida Health Department website daily to stay up to date on the coronavirus.