As reported cases of Coronavirus [COVID-19] mount, so do event cancellations and emergency declarations by local governments.
Multiple municipal governments, including Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Oakland Park and Pompano Beach, have joined Broward County and the State of Florida in declaring a
state of emergency in response to the disease.
The March 17 election and this weekend’s early voting, which ends on March 15, are unaffected.
As first reported in the Sun Sentinel, the Broward Supervisor of Elections [SOE] will provide rubber gloves, bars of soap, rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, and hand-washing facilities at each polling location. The department also purchased 4,200 rolls of paper towels. Machines and supplies will be cleaned throughout election day.
“We’re doing everything we possibly can to provide a safe and comfortable environment,” Steve Vancore, SOE spokesman, told The New Pelican Thursday. He added that “very robust early voting and vote by mail” means large crowds aren’t expected on election day.
Visit browardsoe.org for information on voting and polling locations.
As for recreational and community events, Oakland Park has suspended its public events and facility rentals, including Youth Day, until further notice. A presentation for the City Park Master Plan has been rescheduled from March 16 to the city commission meeting on March 18.
The city’s library and parks programs, including baseball and childcare, have not been impacted yet.
In other cities, the Taste of Lighthouse Point, scheduled for March 31, has been postponed until further notice. The March 14 Community Health Expo at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale has been cancelled. St. Patrick’s Day events in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood, scheduled for Saturday, have also been nixed.
Anyone planning to go to an event should confirm it is still being held before attending.
Pride of the Americas, an LGBT event in Fort Lauderdale scheduled for April, has also been postponed.
Pompano Beach officials have not yet announced any cancellations but say they are monitoring the situation and working with Broward County, the state, and health officials.
Kimberly Spill-Cristiano, the city’s emergency manager, said there has been a partial activation of the Emergency Operations Center. Officials said they were taking these steps out of an abundance of caution.
Honor Flight South Florida, an organization that takes World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans on special trips to Washington, D.C., postponed its April and May flights.
“There are just too many unknowns with respect to the spread of the Coronavirus. Our veterans fall within the range of those most dangerously impacted. Because of their advanced ages, we will not take the chance of putting them at risk,” read an email from the organization.
Organizers hope to have new flight dates soon.
The Centers for Disease Control advises individuals to take precautions to help prevent the spread of germs:
“Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
Stay home when you are sick and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Always cover your cough or sneeze, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.”
Anyone who suspects they may have contracted the disease should contact the Broward County Health Department at 954-467-4700.