The Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has now been detected in 160 locations internationally, including in the United States. On January 31, 2020, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency (PHE) for the United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to COVID-19.
State of Florida
On March 1, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-51 directing a Public Health Emergency and statewide response protocol for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
On March 17th, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced new restrictions across Florida to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Starting at 5 p.m., all bars and nightclubs will be closed for the next 30 days. A bar is defined as a business that derives more than 50% of its revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages. Restaurants must operate at 50% occupancy and should separate seated customers by a distance of at least six feet. Restaurants should also screen employees before allowing them to work. The Governors restrictions also state that people should not gather in groups larger than 10 people, in keeping with the federal guidelines announced Monday afternoon.
Governor Executive Orders for COVID-19 (Click the link to download)
EO 20-91: Essential Services and Activities During COVID-19 Emergency
EO 20-90: Broward and Palm Beach County Closures
EO 20-89: Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Monroe County Public Access Restrictions
EO 20-88: Re-employment of Essential Personnel
EO 20-87: Vacation Rental Closures
EO 20-86: Additional Requirements of Certain Individuals Traveling to Florida
EO 20-85: Telehealth and Immunizations for State Group Insurance
EO 20-83: Protective Measures for Vulnerable Populations, Gatherings of Private Citizens and Density of the Workforce
EO 20-82: Isolation of Individuals Traveling to Florida
EO 20-80: Airport Screening and Isolation
EO 20-72: Non-essential Elective Medical Procedures
EO 20-71: Alcohol Sales, Restaurants, and Gyms
EO 20-70: Broward and Palm Beach County Closures
EO 20-69: Local Government Public Meetings
EO 20-68: Regarding Bars, Beaches, and Restaurants
EO 20-52: Public Health Emergency
EO 20-51: Establishes Coronavirus Response Protocol and Directs Public Health Emergency
Town of Highland Beach
March 29, 2020, the Town of Highland Beach issued a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Order in its continuing efforts to protect the health, welfare and safety of the residents of Highland Beach. Our neighbors to the north and south, City of Delray Beach and City of Boca Raton, have also issued similar orders over the last few days. It is important to stand with our neighbors to ensure our unique sense of place and amazing and strong residents are safe from the spread of the highly contagious and dangerous COVID-19 virus.
With this order, Highland Beach residents are required stay at home and within the boundary of their owned or rented property. The “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order does not order residents to stay confined inside all day, but we do need to make changes to our daily routines. Outdoor exercise and activity are healthy and encouraged so long as social distancing is practiced. Please note that all beaches are closed per the Governor’s Executive Order 20-70.
Highland Beach residents may also leave their homes to travel to grocery stores and to other essential businesses and workplaces and medical facilities. Again, all non-essential travel is restricted.
We implore you to follow the Center of Disease Control (CDC) and Florida Department of Health (DOH) social distancing guidelines and exercise personal preventative practices like washing of hands, avoid hand shaking, clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, covering coughs and sneezes with your elbow or tissue, avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people and contacting your medical provider if you feel ill and/or show signs of the COVID-19 virus. The signs of COVID-19 include fever of 100 degrees or higher, dry cough and shortness of breath. Also, we encourage residents to consider home delivery of meals, supplies and groceries.
By making a few changes to our daily routine and following CDC and DOH guidelines, together we will make it through this crisis and continue to enjoy our paradise – Highland Beach.
To download the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" Order, click here.
To download a copy of the Press Release, click here.
How COVID-19 Spreads
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website
For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings
These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.
Property Tax Due Date Extened
On Monday, March 16, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis directed the Department of Revenue (Department) to provide flexibility on tax due dates to assist those adversely affected by COVID-19. Today, Department of Revenue Executive Director Jim Zingale issued an emergency order to extend the final due date for property tax payments for the 2019 tax year. The Department also extended the due date to file railroad, railroad terminal, private car and freight line and equipment company property tax returns.
The Palm Beach County Emergency Information Center (EIC) has opened to field general questions regarding county operations in relation to COVID-19. The EIC telephone number is 561-712-6400.