A word from your Congressman, Al Lawson
The Disease is Real. It’s Here. And YOU Must
Do What You Can to Avoid COVID-19
We want you to know about the coronavirus COVID-19
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease COVID-19.
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus by staying home.
COVID-19 can be spread by people who are not showing symptoms, including young people.
Coronavirus is spread through person-to-person contact.
Why are Gadsden County Residents More At Risk for the Disease?
Gadsden County is the only county in Florida where a majority of the population is a member of a minority group. We are also largely rural and do not have some of the economic advantages as some of our neighboring communities. Counties across the country with a disproportionate number of African American residents account for more than half of the diagnoses and 58 percent of coronavirus deaths. In Florida, Hispanics represent just over a quarter of the population but account for two of every five coronavirus cases.
We are Essential Workers
Gadsden County residents also may be more vulnerable to the virus because many workers in our community have low-paying service jobs that require us to work through the pandemic and can’t work from home. A large number of Gadsden residents also lack access to health care, which contributes to higher rates of diabetes, heart disease and other conditions that can worsen infections.
Gadsden county workers are often those that perform jobs requiring interaction with the general public, such as in food service, transportation and delivery, farming, health care, corrections, and manufacturing plants that have emerged as major virus hot spots.
Underlying Health Risks
According to the Centers for Disease Control, health differences such as higher rates of asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic lung or heart conditions, compromised immune systems, kidney or liver diseases and obesity put populations at greater risk of getting COVID-19. Based on current information and clinical experience, older adults but also people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
The curfew and mandatory mask mandate is in place for the rest of June.
The curfew is nightly from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m.
Our Actions Matter
We all have a part to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19. We have to do what’s good for our families, businesses, neighbors, employees and the entire community. That means we all must cooperate, which may include making some changes to our everyday lives.
Community cooperation means taking actions that will slow the spread of the highly infectious COVID-19 disease. Personal responsibility and community cooperation is especially important before a vaccine or drug becomes widely available.
Personal Responsibility Means:
- Wearing personal protective measures such as face masks while in community settings like the store or church
- Social distancing (keeping 6 feet of physical distance between people in the community, and otherwise stay at home)
- Washing your hands thoroughly and cough into elbow, and covering your face
- Getting tested for COVID-19
- Cleaning surfaces at home (besides regular cleaning, spray surfaces such as light switches, doorknobs and faucets with a disinfectant spray)
- Don’t attend parties or social gatherings
Community Cooperation Means:
- Only go out when you have to
- Do not organize or participate in large gatherings
- Wear masks and sanitize your hands frequently in community settings such as stores or workplaces
- Stay at least 6 feet away from other shoppers, workers, diners, etc. and avoid touching public surfaces
- Help others get tested for COVID-19
Re-Opening the State: Governor’s Current
Directive on Phased Reopening of Businesses
We are in Governor’s Phase 2 of the Reopening of Florida
Individuals older than 65 years of age and individuals with a serious underlying medical condition (such as chronic lung disease, moderate-to-severe asthma, serious heart conditions, immune-compromised status, cancer, diabetes, severe obesity, renal failure and liver disease) should continue to stay at home. When leaving the home, these individuals should follow social distancing and other general guidance.
Those living with vulnerable individuals should be aware of the exposure risk that they could carry the virus back home after returning to work or other environments where distancing is not practical. Vulnerable populations should affirmatively inform their employer that they are a member of the vulnerable population so that their employer can plan accordingly.
All individuals should continue to maximize physical distance from others in public, particularly in enclosed environments. Visits to nursing homes, long term and senior care facilities are still prohibited.
All employers should screen employees before entering the premises for symptoms of COVID-19 or influenza like illness and, where practical, take the temperature of each employee.
- Individuals should avoid socializing in groups of more than 50 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate social distancing of at least 6 feet.
- Employers should consider requiring employees to wear face masks or face coverings while inside or within close proximity to members of the public.
Bars, Pubs and Nightclubs
Bars, pubs, and nightclubs that derive more than 50 percent of sales from alcohol should operate at 50 percent of building capacity with an emphasis on diminished standing room capacity and prioritizing outdoor service. Owners should consider:
- Spacing tables at least six feet apart and reducing and spreading the arrangement of seating at the bar to incorporate appropriate social distancing between patrons as well as between patrons and the bar staff.
- Restricting coupling of tables or table groups to 10 or fewer patrons.
- Encouraging beverage orders to be taken at the table by bar or wait staff rather than at the bar counter.
- Incorporating intentional and manageable traffic flows to enable responsible social distancing for patrons waiting on service when accepting orders directly at the bar.
- Cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces after each use.
Restaurants and food establishments should operate at no more than 75 percent of building capacity, with appropriate social distancing and a minimum of 6 feet separating parties, as the virus is most transmissible indoors under close, sustained contact.
- Menus, if laminated, should be cleaned after each usage. Paper menus should be designed for single use and then disposed of immediately after use
- Parties should not exceed 10 people. Businesses should limit inside waiting areas for patrons waiting to be seated.
- Allow walk-ins but continue to emphasize a reservations-only business model or call ahead seating to manage spacing effectively in restaurant.
- Outdoor dining areas should continue to be prioritized
- Businesses should consider posting signs to remind staff and patrons of safety and sanitization protocols.
- Businesses should continue to screen employees before work and consider requiring employees to wear face masks or face coverings while inside or within close proximity to members of the public.
- Operators should clean and disinfect all surfaces after every use.
Recreation and State Parks
All state parks should be opened for daytime use. Some facilities within state parks—including overnight accommodations, pavilions, interpretive programs, any large group activities or events—will remain closed.
Beaches should be fully open
Movie theaters, concert halls, auditoriums, bowling alleys, arcades, playhouses, casinos should utilize strict social distancing protocols and should operate at no more than 75 percent capacity, with a minimum of 6 feet separating parties. Additional guidance includes:
- Parties should not exceed 10 people
- Operators should clean and disinfect all surfaces after each use.
Retail Business and Personal Services Businesses
- Operate at no more than 75 percent of building capacity
- Post signage to direct the flow of customers within the premises to promote social distancing
- Suggest all employees wear face masks, cloth face coverings and other PPE while inside or within close proximity to members of the public. Encourage customers to wear face masks or cloth face coverings when entering the premises and provide face masks or cloth face coverings upon request, if available.
- Regularly clean and disinfect working stations and commonly touched surfaces at the greatest frequency feasible.
If you as a business owner are looking for relief, check out this #smallbiz guide with everything you need to know about how to apply for relief under the CARES Act, including eligibility, requirements and application guidelines. Also, go to Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist PDF
Actions to Keep you Safe
Taking Care of Your Health During COVID-19
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you
- have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even inside your home. If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members.
- Put distance between yourself and other people outside of your home.
- Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.
- Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people.
- Do not gather in groups.
- Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
- Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
- Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
- Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
- Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.
- Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
- Especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.
- Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
- Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
Where to Get Tested
The local site for COVID-19 testing of Gadsden County residents is the County Health Department. It is located at 278 LaSalle Leffall Drive in Quincy (behind the hospital).
You can go on Wednesdays from 1:00PM to 6:00PM.
In addition to the Gadsden Health Department, you can also go to Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.
That site is at Bragg Memorial Stadium located at 1500 Wahnish Way
It is open daily from 9:00AM to 6:00PM
You do not need a doctor’s order to get tested for COVID-19.
The Health Council and Leadership Gadsden have partnered with the Gadsden County Health Department to site and present free community and neighborhood testing. POP UP testing sites have been identified in Chattahoochee, Gretna, Greensboro Havana, and the community of St. John's.
The first "pop up" site is scheduled for Saturday, July 11 at 35 Jefferson Street, Chattahoochee, FL (the old Grocery Store across from the Police Department.)
Rapid Rides Transportation