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As county officials announced closures of golf courses and parks Wednesday, they stopped short of ordering residents to stay home, a mistake in the view of at least one county commissioner.
While County Administrator
"We should behave in a manner in which we think the person we're talking to, the person we're standing next to, already has COVID-19," Baker said.
The county needed to go further, said Commissioner
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Wednesday's announcement also came with a directive to close all
Baker's second order closes "non-critical" business, a distinction from non-essential because, she said, "all of the county's businesses are essential."
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The list of businesses allowed to stay open is a long one. It has 40 subsets of businesses, including healthcare providers, grocery stores, gas stations, factories, veterinarians, landscapers, delivery services, laundromats, construction companies, banks and more. For the full list, visit pbcgov.org/coronavirus.
"These are all critical to the well-being of our community as we face this ever changing virus," Baker said. "This will not be the last time we issue executive orders."
Hotels will not be allowed to accept new reservations unless the person is a "critical lodger" meaning a healthcare provider, first responder, government employee, patient or their family, among others.
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"Noncritical" businesses ordered to close can still perform operations online, process payroll, help employees work remotely and maintain inventory and equipment -- so long as no customers walk through their doors.
These businesses have until close of business Thursday to comply, Baker said.
Kerner said a "shelter-in-place" order has been discussed "at length" by officials, and said that would be the next step if locals did not abide by these guidelines.
The discussions have not occurred in public and it is not clear if all seven county commissioners were consulted. McKinlay said she was not. The mayor is a one-year ceremonial post appointed by the board.
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Kerner, a Democrat, referenced decisions by an "executive policy group," that includes top county officials, Kerner, Sheriff
Alonso, who appeared at the news conference, did not share her opinion of the decision but she urged the public to take the rules seriously.
"I'm here to plead to everyone watching this press conference and everybody who hears these words to stop and commit to the social distancing messages that we're giving you," she said. "That means making hard sacrifices, uncomfortable changes to our daily lives that we're asking you to do."
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Kerner warned the public there won't be a next time.
"You shouldn't have to have the government restrict you if your movements are in and of themselves dangerous to yourself," Kerner said. "But if we have to get to that point, the next press conference will be a shelter-in-place (order) from your county government."
The county, he said, does not have the resources "to be essentially hall monitors for a community of 1.5 million people."
He pushed back on the need for an immediate lockdown, as passed by
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"We're not an urban core like
McKinlay, a Democrat, said Wednesday's order didn't go far enough. Earlier on Wednesday,
"I hate having to make these decisions but they're necessary," McKinlay said. "There are ways to do it carefully while still allowing people to access groceries, medical care and walk their dogs."
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"If the science tells us that's necessary, I'd certainly support it," he said. "If (Alonso) doesn't think it's necessary, I support that, too."
Bernard said he would want to make sure essential businesses could still function but agreed with the need for a shelter-in-place order. He also pointed out that testing is so scarce in
"I think that (shelter in place) is something we're most likely going to have to do to deal with in this pandemic. However, there's still a lack of testing in
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Bernard urged DeSantis and President
"Folks, this is a matter of life and health. We need that for our residents," he said.
Kerner said a single
"We will have testing sites up in this county. We'll even go as far as purchasing our own testing kits and setting up our own testing sites if the federal government continues to not come through," he said.
What are the critical businesses?
In general, here are the type of businesses that can remain open:
– Hospitals, doctors' and dentists' offices, pharmacies;
– Grocery stores, convenience stores, liquor stores;
– Homeless shelters, social service agencies;
– Urgent care centers, physical therapists; mental health professionals; labs; blood banks, home health agencies;
– Gas stations, automobile dealerships, auto-supply and auto-repair shops;
– Banks and financial institutions, including insurance firms and adjusters;
– Hardware, gardening, and building supply stores;
– Contractors and other trades, exterminators, janitorial services, home security firms;
– Postal services;
– Moving and storage companies;
– Laundromats, dry cleaners;
– Office supply stores;
– Airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers;
– Assisted living facilities, nursing homes, adult day care centers;
– Law firms, accountants and other professionals, including architects, engineers and land surveyors;
– Landscape and pool care services;
– Childcare facilities, but the children should be in groups of 10 or less;
– Warehouses, factories, bottling plants, trucking companies;
– Telecommunications providers, including computer stores;
– Hotels and motels if they are providing rooms to essential workers, domestic violence victims, displaced people or people using hotels as transitional housing. No new reservations from the public are permitted;
– Veterinarians, pet stores and pet boarding facilities;
– Mortuaries, funeral homes, and cemeteries;
– Gun stores;
– Any business employing 5 or few people who do not regularly interact with the public or can practice social distancing;
– Electrical production and distribution services;
– Personal grooming such as nail salons or hair salons that can provide services with personal protective equipment and comply with federal and state guidance;
– Waste management;
– Landscaping or pool services;
– Businesses that supply other critical businesses.
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