May 29, 2020 - COVID-19 Operational Update sitrep #79
Hendry County EOC - Activation Level ii
As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, Hendry County Emergency Management is committed to actively monitoring the disease and coordinating preparedness efforts with local health officials, healthcare providers, first responders, and other critical emergency response functions.
During the COVID-19public health emergency, the Florida Department of Health is the lead agency and County Emergency Management serves in support of the local health experts.
Significant Changes Since Last Update
OPENINGS: OVER THE NEXT FEW WEEKS HENDRY COUNTY GOVERNMENTAL OFFICES AND OTHER BUSINESSES WILL BE OPENING FOR SERVICES. IN AN ABUNDANCE OF CAUTION, PLEASE "MASK UP" BEFORE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF SERVICES, FOR YOUR SAFETY AND THE SAFETY OF THOSE WHO SERVE YOU.
Hendry County to Re-Open in alignment with the State of Florida. Starting Monday, May 4, County government will be re-opening in very small steps and in alignment with the State of Florida.
Hendry County Tax Collector EFFECTIVE MONDAY, MAY 4, 2020: Both offices are now open in a limited capacity to the public serving Hendry and Glades County residents only. Office hours will be 8:30a.m.-4:30p.m. Drivers' license will close at 4:00 p.m. There will be no road tests administered until further notice. In addition, concealed weapons are renewal only. Social distancing will be mandatory and only the individual needing the service will be allowed to enter. Please continue to use our online services at www.hendrycountytc.com, mail us, utilize our drop boxes located at both offices or call us: in LaBelle 863-675-5280 and in Clewiston at 863-983-1460. thank you for your patience as the phone lines are very busy. We request that if you have business with the Tax Collectors Office, you maintain a 6 foot space in all directions, and wear a mask for everyone's safety.
Hendry County Property Appraiser’s Office EFFECTIVE MONDAY, MAY 4, 2020: The Hendry County Property Appraiser’s (PA) Office will be open for calls in LaBelle at (863) 675-5270 and in Clewiston at (863) 983-3178 and for appointments.
LABELLE OFFICE: The doors are open in the LaBelle Office for essential business only. It is advised that you call ahead, in case assistance can be provided over the phone. For those who need to file exemption applications for the 2021 tax roll, we are asking they not come until Phase II starts or later.
CLEWISTON OFFICE: The Clewiston office will remain by appointment only for a few days, the lobby there does not support the 6-ft distance policy.
Clewiston Library: Clewiston Library Hours will be Monday and Thursday, 9am to 5:30 pm and Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9-5; the library is closed on weekends. Call 863.983.1493 for more information. We request that if you have business with the Hendry County Library, you maintain a 6 foot space in all directions, and wear a mask for everyone's safety.
Hendry County Supervisor of Elections EFFECTIVE MONDAY, MAY 4, 2020: The Hendry County Supervisor of Elections Office will be open in LaBelle and Clewiston from 8:30am to 5:00pm (Clewiston is closed from 1:00pm to 2:00pm). We encourage citizens and candidates to use the Supervisor of Elections website, Hendryelections.org, as the majority of tasks, such as registering to vote, confirming or updating your registration status, requesting a Vote by Mail Ballot, updating a signature, and more, can be completed online.
Candidates can submit monthly financial reports online at www.HendryElections.org . Prospective candidates, please call to make arrangements.
City of Clewison Offices The city is layering additional changes beyond previous notifications in operations and the availability to the public of certain city facilities for the protection of citizens and city employees effective immediately.
Specific changes include limiting public access to city hall, the community development offices, the public utilities offices & operations facilities, the public works offices & operations facilities, the police department offices and the library. each facility location will be posted with contact information on the access doors including telephone & email to receive public service assistance from the staff that will continue to work during normal business hours at each facility. instructions will be provided at each location for delivery, dropoff or pickup of materials or other items. contact information is also available on the city’s website. Learn More:
Hendry County Sheriff's Office Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden asks that everyone please check the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/hendrysheriff or Web Page at http://www.hendrysheriff.org/ frequently over the next several weeks for changes and/or updates to current services that are offered by the Sheriff’s Office personnel.
Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Jail has suspended all Background Fingerprints until April 3, 2020.
Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Jail has suspended the Weekend Work Program until further notice. Check The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Facebook or Web page for updates or call the jail at (863) 674-5674.
Hendry County jail inmate Weekenders are instructed not to appear at the jail in person for Friday check-in but to call and check-in at (863) 674-5674 EVERY FRIDAY UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
All inmate visitations will now be done remotely. The visitation center is closed until further notice.
If you have any questions call (863) 674-5674 or (863) 674-5600.
Hendry County Clerk of Court’s As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been declared a worldwide pandemic by the World Health Organization, extra safety precautions are being taken. Effective March 24, 2020 and until further notice, the Hendry County Clerk of Court’s Office will be closed to the public. Staff will be available to answer any questions by telephone or to assist with the essential or critical court proceedings, as required.
The Clerk’s Office will continue to provide the following essential or critical court proceedings as ordered in Administrative Order No. 2.39:
•First appearance hearings; •Criminal arraignments, as necessary; •Hearings on motions to set or modify monetary bail for individuals who are in custody; •Juvenile dependency shelter and arraignment hearings, including shelter reviews; •Juvenile delinquency detention and arraignment hearings; •Hearings on petitions for temporary injunctions relating to safety of an individual; •Hearings on petitions for risk protection orders: •Hearings on petitions for the appointment of an emergency temporary guardian; •Hearings to determine whether an individual should be involuntarily committed under the Baker Act or Marchman Act; •Hearings on petitions for extraordinary writs as necessary to protect constitutional rights; •Hearings on petitions for judicial waiver of notice pursuant to section 390.01114(4), Florida Statutes; and •Hearings related to the state of emergency or the public health emergency, including but not limited to proceedings related to violation of quarantine or isolation, violation of orders to limit travel, violation of orders to close public or private buildings, and enforcement of curfew orders.
The Clerk’s Office will not be processing passport applications or marriage licenses at this time. Official Records will continue to be processed if they are received by mail or by drop box.
A drop box is located in the parking lot of the Hendry County Courthouse. You must include your name and telephone number in the event there is an issue with the documents and we need to reach you. A check or money order for the proper recording fee must be attached to your Recording Documents and a return envelope with postage. Cash cannot be accepted.
All Court and Traffic payments can be made over the telephone by credit card or mailed to the Clerk of Court, PO Box 1760, LaBelle, FL 33975 by cashier’s check or money order (No Personal Check). You may also make payments by going to the Clerk’s website at www.hendryclerk.org
We strongly encourage individuals with traffic tickets or other outstanding court-ordered financial obligations, who are facing a hardship, to contact our office at the following numbers: (863) 675-5209 or (863) 675-5217
Port LaBelle Utility Payments may be placed in the drop box located in the parking lot of the Hendry County Courthouse. Please include your account number with street address and name. Payments will only be accepted by personal check, cashier check or money order - NO CASH. If you would like to make payment by credit card please call (863)-612-4732.
Hendry County Schools (Feeding Program)
All Schools in Florida are closed until April 15, 2020. Your student will be experiencing virtual learning next week. Each principal will post instructional plans on the school's website, and teachers and principals will be contacting you soon. Thank you for your patience.
Revised Meal Distribution Plan:
Clewiston and LaBelle Schools:Breakfast and lunch will be served to Clewiston and LaBelle school students from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Beginning Monday, March 23. Drive-thru service will be available at Clewiston Middle School, Clewiston High School, LaBelle High School, and LaBelle Elementary School.
Bagged meals for breakfast and lunch will be served simultaneously.
Reminder: Students must DON NOT NEED TO be present in order to receive a meal.
Remote site meal deliveries will be from 10:00 am – 12:00 noon on a first come, first served basis until all meals have been delivered.
The child must be present in order to receive a meal.
Meals will be delivered to the Montura Clubhouse, Pioneer Community Center, Felda Community Center, and the Iglesia Cristiana Restauracion located at 1301 Hwy 29 North. Reminder: Students must be present in order to receive a meal.
Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, 700 Georgia Ave, Clewiston, FL 33440 Bagged meals for breakfast and lunch will be served simultaneously. Meal deliveries will be from 10:00 am – 11:30 am on a first come, first served basis until all meals have been delivered. Students do not have to be present in order to receive a meal.
Hookers Point Park, 1490 Davidson Road, Clewiston, FL 33440 Bagged meals for breakfast and lunch will be served simultaneously. Meal deliveries will be from 11:45 am – 1:15 pm on a first come, first served basis until all meals have been delivered.
A local state of emergency is a situation in which a local government is empowered to perform actions or impose policies that it would normally not be permitted to undertake when disaster is imminent and severe enough to require state or federal aid to supplement local resources. A government can declare such a state during a natural disaster, medical pandemics/epidemics, civil unrest, or armed conflict. Such declarations alert citizens of the emergency and orders government agencies to implement emergency plans to help prevent or alleviate damages, loss, hardship or suffering. Through those activities taken to protect its citizens It also enables the local government to immediately obtain resources available to rescue, evacuate, shelter or provide essential commodities (ie., fuel, food etc.) and make reimbursement easier to claim from the federal government supporting all of the local initiatives.
President of the United States and Coronavirus Task Force Address Nation At a press conference held today, March 16, the President and members of the Coronavirus Task Force addressed the nation and strong recommended that every American avoid restaurants, bars, public food courts and gatherings of more than 10 people, for the next 15 days. In addition, the guidelines for America recommend the following actions to slow the spread of COVID-19. More information can be found atwww.coronavirus.gov
Governor Ron DeSantis Activates Emergency Bridge Loan Program for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19. For more information on the program, visit www.floridadisasterloan.org. For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network at 866-737-7232 or email Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org. The phone line will be answered during regular business hours; all voice mails and emails will be responded to within 24 hours
On March 16, Governor Ron DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The bridge loan program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury from COVID-19. The application period opens March 17, 2020 and runs through May 8, 2020.
The DEO will administer the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program in partnership with the Florida SBDC Network andFlorida First Capital Finance Corporation to provide cash flow to businesses economically impacted by COVID-19. Theshort-term, interest-free loans help bridge the gap between the time the economic impact occurred and when a business secures other financial resources, including payment of insurance claims or longer-termSmall Business Administration (SBA) loans. Up to $50 million has been allocated for the program.
Small business owners with two to 100 employees located in Florida affected by COVID-19 can apply for short-term loans up to $50,000. These loans are interest-free for up to one year and are designed to bridge the gap to either federal SBA loans or commercially available loans. The DEO will work with every borrower to ensure that repayment of the loan isn’t an overwhelming burden. To be eligible, a business must have been establishedprior to March 9, 2020 and demonstrate economic impacts as a result of COVID-19.
Should I Get Tested For COVID-19and how should I get tested? Florida Department of Health has guidance. Learn more.
If your travel history has not put you at risk, take note: If you have been in close contact with someone who may have or had COVID-19, and you have symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath, or you have an underlying medical condition like diabetes or heart disease, or a history of cancer.
Call, do not visit, your County Health Department (CHD) or health care provider. It’s IMPORTANT to call ahead before visiting your CHD or health care provider. Offices must take proper steps to avoid further spread of COVID-19 when a concerned patient arrives for a medical appointment.
How testing is done. A person who is tested will have three specimens taken: oral, nasal and saliva. Samples will be given to the CHD and from there, shipped or delivered to the closest laboratory. Test results are available within 24–48 hours.
March 17th, Governor Ron DeSantis declared the following:
Restaurants shall conduct business at 50 percent capacity where customers are more than 6 feet apart.
Restaurant employees must be screened for health before reporting to work, including questions such as international travel, close proximity to a COVID-19 case, etc.
Strongly encouraged residents to use takeout and delivery services.
Ordered all Florida bars and nightclubs to suspend services beginning at 5 p.m. today for the next 30 days.
Beaches shall host no group larger than 10 people.
Governor declared that schools shall remain closed until April 15
Governor Expands Order for Senior Living Facilites Governor Ron DeSantis expanded an emergency order prohibiting all visitation to nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other long term care facilities until mid April.
Florida Department of Corrections suspends visitation. Following the State of Emergency issued in response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Florida, the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) has suspended visitation at all correctional institutions statewide. FDC has no known or suspected cases of COVID-19 at this time
Governor restricts senior living facility visitation. Gov. Ron DeSantis placed limits Wednesday on who can visit Florida’s nursing homes and other assisted living facilities, bidding to protect the state’s sizeable and vulnerable elderly population from the new coronavirus. The governor’s order prohibits anyone who recently arrived from a foreign country from visiting nursing and assisted care facilities.
Consumer and User Protection:
COVID-19 price gouging hotline started. Following Executive Order 20-52, Attorney General Ashley Moody today activated Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline for all consumers in the state. The opening of the hotline comes as Governor Ron DeSantis declares a state of emergency in response to positive test results of 20 coronavirus-infected patients in Florida. The Attorney General’s Price Gouging Hotline can only be activated following a state of emergency declaration issued by the Governor and covers essential commodities outlined in Florida Statute, Section 501.160.
For a list of the commodities covered under the state’s price gouging laws during the COVID-19 state of emergency, click here.
Violators of the price gouging statute are subject to civil penalties of $1,000 per violation and up to a total of $25,000 for multiple violations committed in a single 24-hour period. For more information on price gouging, please click here.
Price gouging can be reported by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or by visiting MyFloridaLegal.com. For tips on reporting price gouging, click here.
Malicious website pretending to be global COVID-19 map. A malicious website pretending to be the live map for Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins University is circulating on the internet waiting for unwitting internet users to visit the website. Visiting the website infects the user with the AZORult trojan, an information stealing program which can exfiltrate a variety of sensitive data. It is likely being spread via infected email attachments, malicious online advertisements, and social engineering. Furthermore, anyone searching the internet for a Coronavirus map could unwittingly navigate to this malicious website.Learn more.
Restaurants, Bars and Nightclubs:
March 18th State of Florida Requirements on Restaurants, Bars and Nightclubs
Limit customer entry to 50% of capacity.
Stagger and limit seating to ensure seated parties are separated by a distance of at least 6 feet.
Encourage restaurants to continue and expand take-out and delivery services.
Screen all employees and prohibit entry for employees that answer "yes" to any of the following questions:
Have you returned from international travel or been on a cruise within the last 14 days?
Have you been in contact with anyone who has returned from international travel or been on a cruise within the last 14 days?
Have you been in any gathering of 50 people or more in the last 14 days?
Have you traveled to any area known to have high numbers of positive cases of COVID-19, including but not limited to California, Washington, New York, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.?
Have you experienced signs or symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath?
Stay Informed on COVID-19: In coordination with the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) in Hendry County, the County recommends the following sources to assist with community mitigation and preparedness. While health experts are working around the clock to learn more about COVID-19, you can also stay informed as new information becomes available.
Also, FDOH has activated a 24/7 COVID-19 call center at (866) 779-6121. Hendry County residents can also call the County Health Department at 863.674-4041, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Also, the best resource for Florida-specific COVID-19 information remains the following FDOH website: www.FLHealth.gov/COVID-19 .
Take Action to Stay Prepared Now is the time to be ready and reflect on your personal preparedness and plans. At this time, experts do not recommend social distancing or isolating yourself unless you are sick or suspect transmission. To remain well, practice good hygiene measures like washing your hands and using hand sanitizer with an alcohol content of 60 percent or greater. Also, it is not too late in the season to receive a flu vaccine, as recommended by the CDC. Getting sick back-to-back (from flu and another respiratory illness such as COVID-19) can be severely challenging. Mitigate your risk now.
According to the CDC, the most effective ways to prevent transmission of not only COVID-19 but any respiratory illness is to avoid being exposed by washing your hands and cleaning regularly used surfaces (more info can be found here).
HENDRY COUNTY -The Emergency Alert Program will alert you when emergencies and other important community news happens. By signing up for the Hendry County Emergency Alert Program it will enable us to provide you with critical information quickly in a variety of situations, such as severe weather, unexpected road closures, missing persons and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods. You will receive time-sensitive messages wherever you specify, such as your home, mobile or business phones, email address, text messages and more.
New online web POISONCONTROL digital triage poison center
webPOISONCONTROLis also available as an app for both Android and iPhone. The mobile app has the added feature of product barcode scanning, saving some time for people who need fast answers and have the product packaging nearby.