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March 24, 2020 8:00 AM

COVID-19 Update for City of Destin

Latest COVID-19 Update for July 21, 2020:
Okaloosa County Commissioners passed an ordinance today requiring businesses to place clear signage at their storefront, stating their policy on mask requirements for customers and employees. The ordinance will be in effect starting August 1st. Visit myokaloosa.com/bcc/covid-19 for more.

Latest COVID-19 Update for July 20, 2020:
Thank you for visiting the City of Destin. We are committed to the health and safety of all city staff, customers and visitors to our facilities. Due to COVID-19 city facility lobbies are closed at this time. We encourage customers to utilize the city’s online services at www.cityofdestin.com. If you need to speak to a member of our staff, please call 850-837-4242 and please listen for your appropriate option. We ask that you please leave a message and a member of our team will respond as soon as possible.

Latest COVID-19 Update for July 10, 2020:

The City of Destin’s highest priority is the safety of the public and our employees. Due to potential COVID-19 exposures and in order to maintain continuity of operations, the lobbies at Destin City Hall and the Destin City Hall Annex will close to the public effective today. Members of the public can still request to meet with staff, every effort will be made to honor those requests; however, all meetings will be by appointment only. Citizens can access most of our services virtually through our website at www.cityofdestin.com. Citizens can also contact staff at 850.837.4242.

The Destin Library will be closed on Saturday, July 11th. Beginning Monday, July 13th, the Destin Library will be open on Mondays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays. All programs are suspended at this time and curbside pick-up is available for library patrons.

Effective Sunday July 12th, the Destin Community Center lobby will also be closed to the public. The kids summer camp program will continue with curbside drop-off and pick-up. All other programs are suspended at this time.

The City of Destin has and will continue to follow CDC and Florida Health Department protocols. The public is strongly encouraged to also abide by these guidelines.

We highly encourage the public to attend any public meetings virtually and information can be found on how to participate at www.cityofdestin.com. We will continue to closely monitor and provide updates through our Facebook page – City of Destin Government and our website.

COVID-19 Update for June 26, 2020:

Effective immediately, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is suspending on premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide. Emergency Order 2020-09, once again suspends sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on-premises for all vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on premises who derive more than 50% gross revenue from such sales in Section 1, but allows for the continuance of alcoholic beverage sales in sealed containers for consumption off-premises. Section 2 allows vendors who are also licensed as public food service establishments or “restaurants” under Chapter 509 F.S.S. to continue to operate for on-premises consumption of food and beverages AT TABLES pursuant to the restrictions in EO 20-139, so long as these vendors derive 50% or less of their gross revenue from sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.

As of June 5th, the 14 day quarantine restriction has been lifted for Louisiana residents per Governor Ron DeSantis's EO 20-139. In addition, all visitors arriving by plane from the New York Tri-State Area (Connecticut, New Jersey and New York), must enter a period of quarantine for 14 days from the time of entry, or for the duration of their stay, whichever is shorter.

We encourage everyone to please check viable sources:

Due to Governor Ron DeSantis’s executive orders as it relates to visitors traveling from known hotspots, Okaloosa County’s official position is:

“While vacation rental reservations can be accepted from high-risk areas the County advises against it. Guests from high-risk areas will need to quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into the State of Florida or the duration of the person’s presence in the State of Florida, whichever is shorter. Guests occupying those vacation rentals must adhere to the quarantine restrictions or be subject to established criminal and civil penalties.”

For more information regarding Okaloosa County's safety plan please visit: https://assets.simpleviewinc.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1/clients/emeraldcoastfl/str_guidelines_75d39353-00fb-4968-96ff-873935911e36.pdf

FAQ for visitors: https://www.destinfwb.com/connect/faqs/covid-19-faq/

We will continue to keep our Facebook page – City of Destin Government and website (www.cityofdestin.com) updated as we continue to reopen Florida.

It's official! We have word that Okaloosa County's short-term vacation rental safety plan has been approved by the State! The Vacation Rental Industry in Okaloosa County can accept and welcome guests as soon as they are ready to do so by following safety guidelines in favor of public health and safe vacations. https://bit.ly/3bLtU3R-Safety-Plan-Okaloosa.

City of Destin City Hall and Community Center to Begin Soft Reopening
• Destin City Hall Lobby will be open to the public on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (8 am to 5 pm).
• Destin Community Center Lobby will be open to the public on Tuesday and Thursday (8 am to 5 pm) and Saturday (9 am to 1 pm). All organized activities are suspended.
• Destin Library is open Monday and Friday (9 am to 5 pm) and Wednesday (1 pm to 5 pm). All organized activities are suspended. Curbside service is available.
• City Hall Annex municipal services will remain available to the public via phone and online. Limited in-person meetings are available at the discretion of city staff and by appointment only.

“Most city permit’s and services are available via phone or through virtual means. We encourage all citizens and businesses to use our website at www.cityofdestin.com or reach out to us by phone at 850.837.4242,” stated Lance Johnson.

The following city operated playgrounds are now open to the public:
• Children’s Park at Morgan Sports Center (4200 Indian Bayou Trail)
• Clement Taylor Park Playground (131 Calhoun Avenue)
• Buck Destin Playground (724 Legion Drive)
• Destin Sports Complex Playground (633 Kelly Street)
• Kell-Aire Nature Walk Playground (874 Kell-Aire Drive)

The parks and recreation staff will sanitize equipment; however, park patrons are highly encouraged to bring hand sanitizer as an added measure.

Governor DeSantis announced plans for ReopenFlorida into a full Phase I starting Mon., May 18. This includes counties submitting vacation rental plans (to rent again) to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. We are actively working with Okaloosa County administration and we hope to have more information available next week with regard to our plan for the future. All updates will be posted to our city Facebook page – City of Destin Government.

On Friday, May 8th, Henderson Beach State Park opened to the public. Here is what you need to know:
*The park is open from 8 am to sundown.
*The park will only allow 50% capacity at this time.
*Only exact change will be accepted ($6.00 for 2 to 8 people / $4.00 for 1 person)
*The playground is closed.
*Camping is not open at this time.
*All annual passes that expired since the park closure due to COVID-19 will be honored for two months.
For more information please call the park at 850.837.7550 or visit https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/henderson-beach-state-park

On Tuesday, May 5th, the Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners has agreed unanimously to reopen Okaloosa County Beaches, effective immediately without restrictions. Don't forget, social distancing is still required by order of the Governor, at least 6 ft. between groups. Groups should remain to 10 or less.

On Wednesday, April 29th, 2020, the Destin City Council voted unanimously to open Destin beaches from dawn to dusk beginning Friday, May 1st. This includes public and private beaches, beach accessways, trails, parking areas solely for accessing public and private beaches, and city beachfront parks. This currently excludes county operated James Lee Park and Henderson Beach State Park. Please visit the following websites for more information (http://www.co.okaloosa.fl.us/ and https://www.floridastateparks.org/…/henderson-beach-state-p…).

All traditional beach activities as described in Executive Order 20-91 are allowed on Destin’s beaches. All Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines are still in effect. Everyone going to the beach must follow social distancing guidelines of staying in groups of 10 or less and groups must be at least six feet apart from other groups. Mayor Gary Jarvis stated, “We will continue to monitor all CDC and DOH guidelines, along with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s guidance and orders.”

Yesterday, Governor Ron DeSantis unveiled his Phase I plan to reopen Florida, followed by two Executive Orders. The following link is a helpful list of FAQs to clarify those orders and the way ahead. https://www.flgov.com/…/2020/04/Exec-Order-20-112-FAQs-1.pdf.

On Monday, May 4th, the Destin Library will open its doors to the public with restrictions during the following hours:
Monday 9 - 5
Wednesday 1 - 5
Friday 9 – 5

Full List of Okaloosa County COVID-19 FAQs please visit: https://www.destinfwb.com/connect/faqs/covid-19-faq/

On Tuesday, April 28, 2020, the Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners approved opening unincorporated county beaches with restricted hours of 6:30 am – 9 am and 4:30 pm – 7 pm. Commissioners will vote on May 5th to consider opening all unincorporated county beaches without restrictions, effective May 9th. They will continue to monitor CDC and DOH guidelines, along with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis guidance and orders.

On Tuesday, April 21st, 2020, the Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved to reopen the unincorporated county beaches on a limited basis beginning May 1st, 2020. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social distancing guidelines still apply.

All unincorporated Okaloosa County beaches will open May 1st, 2020 at the following times:
6:30 am - 9:00 am
4:30 pm - 7 pm

The plan can be expanded or scaled back based on how COVID-19 continues to affect our community.

The Destin City Council will host a special meeting on Wednesday, April 29th, 2020 at 6 pm, at the Destin City Hall Annex, located at 4100 Indian Bayou Trail. The council will review all actions taken by the Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners and take further action as it relates to the opening of our beaches within the city limits of Destin.

The city is receiving inquiries regarding the opening of local businesses. We sympathize but the City of Destin does not have the authority to legislate what is essential or nonessential. All inquiries should be directed to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s Office.

On April 1, 2020 Gov. Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-91, requiring all persons in Florida to limit their movements and personal interactions outside of their home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities (Effective April 3 - April 30). To view Executive Order 20-91 visit: (https://www.floridaleagueofcities.com/docs/default-source/covid-resources/eo-20-91.pdf?sfvrsn=606dd5d5_2)

The Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) also released guidance on the essential infrastructure workforce, which is another helpful resource related to the Safer At Home order issued by the Governor. It can be viewed here: https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce

The City of Destin is currently under a State of Emergency. Our top priority is the health and welfare of our community. We are currently experiencing an extremely high volume of phone calls and emails to the City.

City officials remain in constant contact with the state and local health departments and Okaloosa County Emergency Management. This situation remains very fluid and we will continue to provide updates to our website (www.cityofdestin.com) and our Facebook page – City of Destin Government, concerning COVID-19.

The Destin City Council voted to close all beaches within the City limits of Destin on Friday, March 20th, 2020. This will go into effect March 21, 2020 through April 30, 2020.

The Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners voted March 24, 2020, unanimously to close ALL gulf-front beaches in Okaloosa County.

City of Destin Code Compliance Officers are available 24 HOURS A DAY to answer questions regarding the governor's orders and beach restrictions related to COVID-19. Citizens may report issues by calling 850.279.6658 or email code@cityofdestin.com. Please note that emails to and from public employees are subject to public records request per Florida state law.

City of Destin’s focus is public safety. Local governments are unable to mediate personal contracts with lodging businesses. Mayor Gary Jarvis is asking our local businesses to please honor the Destin Brand and work with visitors to the best of their ability.

As of Monday, March 23rd, 2020, the lobbies of City Hall (850.837.4242), the City Hall Annex (850.654.1119) and Public Services Complex will be closed to the public. However, municipal services provided at these facilities will remain available to the public via phone and online. Limited in-person meetings are available at the discretion of City staff and by appointment only. Future City Council meetings shall continue at its regularly scheduled times and will continue to be livestreamed.

City Operated Park and Facility Information:
All organized activities are suspended at the following city facilities:
• Destin Community Center (101 Stahlman Avenue)
• Morgan Sports Center (4200 Indian Bayou Trail) (Walking Track and Multi-Use Fields Open)
• Buck Destin Senior Center (724 Legion Drive) (Tennis Courts Open)
• Destin Library (150 Sibert Avenue) - Opened May 4th with restrictions

The following city operated playgrounds are closed to the public:
• Children’s Park at Morgan Sports Center (4200 Indian Bayou Trail)
• Clement Taylor Park Playground and Beach/Water Access (131 Calhoun Avenue)
• Buck Destin Playground (724 Legion Drive)
• Destin Sports Complex Playground (633 Kelly Street)
• Kell-Aire Nature Walk Playground (874 Kell-Aire Drive)

The following city operated beach parks, trails and facilities are closed: - (All beach parks opened May 1st).
• June White Decker Beach Park (1950 Scenic Hwy 98)
• Norreigo Point Beach Park (Gulf Shore Drive (Holiday Isle)
• Shore at Crystal Beach Park (2966 Scenic Highway 98)
• Barracuda Trail
• Calhoun Trail
• Crystal Beach Trail
• O’Steen Trail
• Pompano Trail
• Shirah Trail
• Silver Shells Trail
• Tarpon Trail

The following city operated parks and facilities are closed:
• Morgans Sports Complex (Gated Fields) (4200 Indian Bayou Trail)
• Dalton Threadgill Little League Park and Facilities (711 Hickory Street) - Re-open May 5th to little league coaches and players. Scheduled practices only.
• Captain Royal Melvin Heritage Park (206 Harbor Boulevard)
• Clement Taylor Park (Beach/Water Access Closed to Public) (131 Calhoun Ave)

The following city operated parks, walking trails and facilities are open:
• Main Street Park (605 Main Street)
• Jewel Melvin Park (1999 Cordgrass Court)
• Kell-Aire Nature Walk (874 Kell-Aire Drive)
• Mattie Kelly Nature Walk and Pier (825 Beach Drive)
• Harborview Park (Beach Drive and US Highway 98)
• Joe’s Bayou Boat Launch (800 Beach Drive)
• Morgan Sports Center Walking Track, Multi-Use Field, and Disc Golf Course (4200 Indian Bayou Trail)
• Buck Destin Tennis Courts (724 Legion Drive)
• Clement Taylor Park (131 Calhoun Ave)
• Destin Sports Complex Walking Track and Multi-Use Field (633 Kelly Street)
• Nancy Weidenhamer Dog Park (4100 Indian Bayou Trail)

**Citizens must adhere to CDC guidelines – “6-foot separation” and “10 people or less”

The Community Development Department is working with the public by providing inspection application and procedures online as well as online virtual inspections. Please visit:
https://www.cityofdestin.com/88/Community-Development for more information.

For health-related questions in our area please feel free to reach out to our local health department at 850-344-0566 Monday - Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST. The state’s call center is 1-866-779-6121 and is now available 24 hours a day 7 days a week or email COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

As information evolves regarding COVID-19 city officials will provide updates across all city social media platforms and website (www.cityofdestin.com).

Visit http://myokaloosa.com/bcc/covid-19 to learn more about actions Okaloosa County has taken, executive orders by the governor of Florida, helpful resources by trusted partners and decisions made locally and neighboring counties.

Frequently asked questions about our area please visit: https://www.destinfwb.com/

Center for Disease Control Symptoms and Checking – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/index.html

If you have questions about the CARES ACT please visit:

Re-Employment Assistance - http://www.floridajobs.org/

COVID-19 Resources for Employers and Individuals - https://www.floridajobsresources.com/

To help our community the Destin Library is providing paper unemployment applications along the library walkway for those who do not have access to the online application. Paper applications may be downloaded here http://www.floridajobs.org/Reemployment-Assistance-Service-Center/reemployment-assistance/claimants/rapaperapplication

Emergency loans for small businesses — and borrowers who maintain or restore their payrolls won’t have to pay back the loans. Check out the easy, step-by-step Small Business Coronavirus Emergency Loan Guide and how to apply here:

If you have questions about your business being an essential service or would like to request for your business to be added to the approved list of essential services outlined in Executive Order Number 20-91 please visit: https://www.floridadisaster.org/

Local business operation hours: - https://www.destinchamber.com/covid-19-effects-to-destin-business-operation

Designated Senior Shopping Hours
• Publix – Tuesday and Wednesday (7 – 8 a.m.)
• Target – Wednesday (1st Hour of Business)
• Walmart – Tuesday (1st Hour of Business)
• Winn Dixie – Monday thru Friday (8 – 9 a.m.)
• Whole Foods – Daily (One Hour Prior to Opening)
• The Fresh Market – Monday thru Friday (8 – 9 a.m.)
• Dollar General – Daily (First Hour of Business)
• Big Lots – Daily (First Hour of Business)
• Costco WholeSale – Tuesday and Thursday (8 - 9 a.m.)

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