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City News

Posted on: March 17, 2020

COVID 19 Update

COVID 19 virus

MARCH 17, 2020 12:30 P.M. UPDATE:  Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday that all Florida bars and night clubs will be shutdown for at least 30 days, and restaurants will be restricted to half capacity to limit the spread of coronavirus. Restaurants should prohibit employees from entering the establishment if they meet the criteria for COVID-19. Pickup and delivery services are permitted. DeSantis said he also will order that crowds of no more than 10 people gather on beaches. Visitors to public beaches limit gatherings to 10 or less and distances themselves from other parties by six feet. 

 The City of Milton status is currently operating at Pandemic Plan Level 3, (Monitoring, Preparedness and Prevention) of community spread of the COVID 19 virus. We will move to the next level as soon as determined warranted. The city is deploying city-wide preventative measures, such as encouraging electronic transactions, limiting social interactions, diligently disinfecting public surfaces regularly, and ensuring accuracy of all disseminated information.

  • Currently, Milton Community Center (except for polling use on Tuesday, March 17) and Milton Event Center are closed until further notice.
  • All city parks are open.
  • The city has cancelled all permitted events exceeding more than 50 people for the next eight weeks and discouraging gatherings of more than ten. This follows the more restrictive and specific CDC guidelines released Sunday, March 15.
  • The Committee of the Whole is cancelled for March and there will be a determination to be made to hold the Executive Committee meeting in April.
  • Advisory bodies will only meet if necessary.

The city is working in unison with Santa Rosa County Emergency Management and assisting the Santa Rosa County Department of Health with social media messaging. Santa Rosa County is cancelling all publicly-permitted events in county facilities until further notice. As with city events, this only applies to events permitted through the county and does not include schools, churches or other private events. This step will be reassessed in two weeks for continuation or to lift the cancellation of publicly permitted events. County libraries will remain open for now but all programming and use of meeting rooms in those facilities have been cancelled. 

  • The board of county commissioners (BOCC) will meet for its regular board meeting and complete all necessary business at 9 a.m. on Thurs., Mar. 26. The agenda and supporting materials will be published Thurs., Mar. 19. A public input form will be available on the county website with specific guidance, direction and procedure for the public to provide input/comment on individual agenda items or to bring forward issues that residents would like heard during public forum. Public input received via this process will be read into the record either when the individual agenda item is presented or during public forum as requested by the submitter. The BOCC will continue to use the single meeting format (all business completed at regular meetings on Thursdays)) during meeting weeks through the month of April. No decision has been made on the April Special Rezoning meeting at this time.
  • The following meetings have been cancelled:

    • Land Development Code public forum on Thurs., Mar. 19
    • BOCC Committee Meeting on Mon., Mar. 23 at 9 a.m.
    • BOCC Special Rezoning Meeting on Thurs., Mar. 26 at 6 p.m.
    • Tourism Development Council on April 2

It is imperative for everyone to do their part in preventing the spread of germs, such as: avoiding close contact with people, covering coughs or sneezes with a tissue and properly disposing of the tissue in the trash, avoid touching your face, clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, stay home if you are sick, (except to get medical care) and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.


Tax Collector

  • The tax collector has cancelled all appointments including CDLs (hazmat licenses), concealed weapons applications/renewals, driving tests, etc. until further notice. 
  • Many transactions can be completed online at www.santarosatax.com. Citizens are urged to take advantage of this convenient option.

First Judicial Court

  • All jury trials are officially suspended through Mar. 27 by the Florida Supreme Court.
  • Access to the courthouse and proceedings are limited effective immediately. Only those persons with business before the court, or with agencies within those facilities (Clerk of Court, State Attorney, or Public Defender) may enter the facilities. Only necessary participants are allowed into any hearing (witnesses, attorneys, and parties, essential court staff).
  • Proceedings for which more than 50 people are scheduled to be heard will be held at staggered intervals. Persons with no official business who are not necessary participants are not allowed in the facility. As possible, the Circuit will hold proceedings by video and telephonic appearances.
  • Persons entering court facilities will be allowed one small (no larger than two ounces) bottle of hand sanitizer. As available, each facility will provide sanitizer for public use. Individuals with known symptoms or exposures should make the judges aware prior to any appearance. Any attorney, litigant, or any member of the public having a specific need to be excused or any other request should make the judge aware of the circumstances.

  • Florida Forest Service

    • All campgrounds on Blackwater River State Forest will be closed for 30 days effective March 20 as well as Clear Creek Off-Highway Vehicle Riding Area and Krul Lake Recreation Area.
    • The forest remains open to hunting and fishing under the rules and guidelines of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

  • Small Business Development Center

    • Governor Ron DeSantis has activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The bridge loan program will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury from COVID-19.
    • The application period runs through May 8, 2020. More information is at FloridaDisasterLoan.org
    • The Governor has requested the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) make the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program available for Florida’s small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) stands ready to assist Florida’s small businesses in accessing this funding when available.
    • The Business Damage Assessment survey has been activated to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s local business operations. The survey, managed by DEO, will evaluate businesses affected by COVID-19 and the impacts the virus has had on the local economy so actions to implement appropriate relief programs can begin. The survey can be taken online at https://floridadisaster.biz.

Supervisor of Elections
Santa Rosa County Supervisor of Elections announced emergency polling location changes for the Presidential Preference Primary Election. On Election Day (Tues., Mar. 17), polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • Precincts 28 and 37 have been changed from Community Life United Methodist Church to the Tiger Point Community Center, 1370 Tiger Park in Gulf Breeze.
  • Precinct 23 has been changed from Midway Fire District Station 37 to the Midway Baptist Church, 5471 Gulf Breeze Pkwy. in Gulf Breeze.
  • Visit www.votesantarosa.com to find the nearest early voting location.

Sheriff’s Office
The sheriff’s office is currently implementing several policies to increase the safety of the citizens, inmates and employees:

  • The sheriff’s office has suspended fingerprinting services until further notice.
    The 2020 Public Safety Coordinating Council Meeting scheduled for April 15 has been cancelled.
  • Jail intake procedures have been enhanced in order to provide a more intensive screening for new inmates.
  • The department has implemented ongoing enhanced cleaning and sanitizing of the detention department.
  • Deputies have been provided with PPE equipment as needed.
  • All volunteers have been restricted from entering the jail.
  • Hand sanitizers have been installed throughout the sheriff’s office.

Clerk of Courts

  • The Florida Supreme Court has temporarily suspended jury selection proceedings from Mar. 16 - 27. Jurors who are serving on trials that have already commenced should contact the office of the presiding trial judge for instructions.

City of Gulf Breeze

  • The City of Gulf Breeze Pandemic Policies in the City Emergency Plan will be followed if needed, to ensure continuity of city services.
  • Fire and police have appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Any public permits for events over 500 will not be considered before the end of March. Two publicly permitted events in March have voluntarily canceled: The annual Quarterback Carnival and the Gulf Breeze Arts Festival. Gumbo Fest is rescheduled to Sat., May 2. Spring Fest is still tentatively scheduled for April 18.
  • Subscribe to the City’s e-news at: https://tinyurl.com/rokhtpg.

Santa Rosa County School District

  • By order of Governor De Santis, Santa Rosa Schools are closed through Mar. 27. All extracurricular activities including athletics (practice or play) are cancelled through Mar. 28. Employees should remain in contact with your school or department during the spring break to receive updates, and plan on reporting to work Mar. 23 until further notice.

Pensacola State College

  • Pensacola State College classes are suspended through Mar. 29.
  • The college administration recognizes that consideration should be given to individuals with special health circumstances and will address these situations on a case-by-case basis. Any employees, faculty and staff who return from travel to China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea or any other areas affected by COVID-19 are asked to self-isolate and not return to campus for 14 days after their return.
  • The college is not approving college-sponsored out-of-state travel until further notice.
  • The NJCAA, PSC’s national athletic association, has suspended all athletic competition until April 4.
  • Other college events will be assessed on a case-by-case basis for the next several weeks.
  • PSC students, faculty and staff are asked to check their emails and other information sources during spring break to get updates from the college administration that may change the decision to open on Mon., Mar. 23.



Emerald Coast Regional Council

  • The Emerald Coast Regional Council has postponed all upcoming transportation public meetings including meetings of the Florida-Alabama Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) and their committees.
  • Meetings will be rescheduled after May 1. Details will be sent out for public notice. For more information, contact PublicInvolvement@ecrc.org or 850-332-7976.

Florida Department of Health
The Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County (DOH-Santa Rosa) encourages our residents and visitors to take steps to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses such as cold and the flu as well as COVID-19. Everyone can do their part to help. Your cooperation is integral to the ongoing public health response to try to slow the spread of this virus.

Screen Yourself and Call First 
If you become sick, review the screening criteria for COVID-19:

  • Are you over 65 years old with chronic medical conditions and are experiencing symptoms, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath? Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
  • Have you returned from international travel or been on a cruise within the last 14 days?
  • Have you been around someone diagnosed with COVID-19?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, contact your healthcare provider or your local county health department (CHD). Call, do not visit, your health care provider and tell them about your symptoms and your travel history or exposure to a COVID-19 patient. It’s important to call ahead before visiting your health care provider. Offices must take proper steps to avoid further spread of COVID-19 when a concerned patient arrives for a medical evaluation.

Take Steps to Protect Against Spreading Viruses
If you are mildly ill, follow these tips to help prevent spreading it to other people:

  • Do not go to the emergency department if you are only a little sick. The emergency department should be used for people who are very sick. You should not go to the emergency room if you are only mildly ill. The CDC has guidance on what to do if you are sick from a mild viral illness: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/treatment/takingcare.htm and https://www.cdc.gov/features/rhinoviruses/index.html
  • Stay at home while you are sick and keep children out of school or daycare while they are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with others, such as hugging, kissing, or shaking hands.
  • Move away from people before coughing or sneezing.
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue then throw it away.
  • Wash your hands after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as toys and doorknobs.

The Florida Department of Health is strongly urging attendees of mass gatherings not to attend if they:

  • are a contact to a known or suspected case of COVID-19.
  • are over the age of 65 with underlying health conditions.
  • are immune compromised.
  • are ill.
  • have been exposed to someone with a respiratory illness in the last 14 days.
  • have chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease.
  • have traveled internationally within the last 14 days, especially to destinations under a level 3 travel advisory.
  • have traveled to or from a geographic area with widespread community transmission of COVID-19.

COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes. These droplets may land on objects and surfaces. Other people may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days following exposure. Most people recover from COVID-19 without needing special treatment. The elderly and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus and use everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of respiratory diseases.


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