Naples declares state of emergency in response to coronavirus, election still held Tuesday
Mayor Bill Barnett and the City of Naples declared a state of emergency during a press conference Monday in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).
City administration is working with partner agencies and adjusting operations to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the city’s emergency response team is working to provide resources for the community. This involves taking steps with Florida Department of Health to prioritize testing for as many people as possible, improving access to testing.
With the state of emergency declared, city employees will be able to work from home. For people who cannot work from home, the city will be sanitizing work spaces.
Business-related travel for employees is canceled until May, and public meetings and advisory meetings will be postponed.
Amid the state of emergency, people we spoke to seem to be going about their daily lives but with extra precautions.
“We were conscience in church,” visitor William McNamara said. “I think a little more distance between other folks.”
Locals such as Russ Abraham says he is also following the steps for health safety.
“Washing your hands a lot, trying to figure out what we’re going to do with the rest of our lives,” said Abraham, who has lived in Naples for 20 years.
The city is not currently making any orders to close businesses or restaurant but expect them to abide by current guidelines.
“This pandemic will undoubtedly have an impact on our local businesses and nonprofit organization,” Barnett said.
It’s a move that has visitors and locals split.
“We’ve been trying to eat out doors and enjoying that,” McNamara said.
“Those are gathering places for people,” Abraham said.”You know take out service would probably do just as well.”
There are six positive COVID-19 cases in Collier County, one of those a confirmed NCH Healthcare System patient.
NCH tested 40 people for coronavirus at it mobile collection site Monday and says it’s prepared for more cases.
“NCH has planned well for the supplies and resources necessary to protect our staff and our patients,” said Paul Hiltz, the NCH CEO and president.
TUESDAY ELECTION ON SCHEDULE
The city is still encouraging residents to vote Tuesday during the primary. Jennifer Edward, Collier County supervisor of elections, spoke during the press conference. She also said there will still be an election. Hand sanitizer and wipes have been purchased for all 59 polling locations.
However, two assisted living facilities have withdrawn from being polling locations and have been change to new ones. And over 80 election workers have excused themselves from coming to work, so locations are understaffed. Officials warn to expect lines.
There is no exact time frame for how long the state of emergency will last in Naples. A consideration for closing beaches and parks is under review and has not been decided.
IF YOU FEEL SICK:
The Florida Department of Health has opened a 24-hour COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Questions may also be emailed to [email protected] Email responses will be sent during call center hours.
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