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Fort Walton Beach to begin reopening Monday

Fort Walton Beach officials have a plan on how to reopen the city starting Monday. (Fort Walton Beach)
Fort Walton Beach officials have a plan on how to reopen the city starting Monday. (Fort Walton Beach)(WJHG)
Published: May. 1, 2020 at 11:11 AM CDT
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Following the Governor’s Executive Order 20-112, the City of Fort Walton Beach will begin a phased “reopening” plan on Monday, May 4, 2020. The City’s four-phased reopening plan includes returning employees back to work at full capacity, resuming normal operations, opening public facilities and resuming recreation services. The phases will coincide with additional Executive Orders issued by the Governor moving forward.

“Our priority is to ensure our citizens and employees are safe. We will continue to follow CDC guidelines and use the Governor’s ‘Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery’ as a guide to reopen City services and operations,” said City Manager Michael Beedie. “I am extremely proud of our staff for their response and flexibility throughout this pandemic, and I am confident we will get our City back to normal as we follow county, state and federal reopening plans. I am also grateful to our council for their confidence in staff to manage the City through this unprecedented time.”

Phase 1 of the City’s four-phased reopening plan begins Monday, May 4, 2020, with the following guidelines:

• Employees telecommuting and on alternative shifts will begin to resume normal work schedules.

• Steps will be taken to sanitize and implement additional precautionary measures for workspaces, lobbies, etc., following CDC guidelines.

• Employees interacting with the public shall be required to wear face coverings and any other required personal protection equipment (PPE) and comply with all social distancing guidelines.

• The Continuity of Utility Services Policy will expire on June 22, 2020. This policy is in place to help residents and businesses with utility services during this time of economic uncertainty. The policy waives late fees and penalties, suspends water cut-offs, and allows for utility service changes as needed.

• Public restrooms will reopen.

• Athletic fields may open for public play.

o No organized activities will be allowed.

o No field rentals will be permitted.

o Measures to practice social distancing and maintain groups of 10 or less will be continued.

• FWB Golf Club will remain open on a limited basis using the current precautionary measures implemented on April 16, 2020.

• The May 19, 2020, City Council meeting shall be conducted remotely by all elected officials using Microsoft Teams. Attendance within the Council Chambers will be limited to 10 or less people.

• Volunteer board and committee meetings are cancelled through the end of May 2020. Remote meetings will take place if necessary.

• All virtual and online services will continue.

• Public lobbies will remain closed to the public.

• Fire Department and Police Department facilities shall remain closed to the public for non-emergency situations.

• FWB Recreation Center, FWB Library and Heritage Park & Cultural Center will remain closed to the public.

• FWB Civic Auditorium will remain closed.

• Playgrounds at parks will remain closed.

Phase 1 is expected to last a minimum of two weeks and is subject to change, contingent on additional Executive Orders issued by the Governor. Phases 2-4, which include reopening public lobbies, the library, museum and recreation services, will be implemented as state and national reopening plans develop.

Governor’s Executive Order 20-112: https://www.fwb.org/sites/default/files/fileattachments/city_manager/page/8957/governor_21_eo-20-112_reopen_fl_phase_i.pdf

Please use the following resources for more information about COVID-19:

• http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/COVID-19/

• www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV

• www.fwb.org/COVID-19

DOH-Okaloosa has set up a local call center for COVID-19 inquiries from the public. The number is 850-344-0566, Monday- Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The state’s call center is 1-866-779-6121, 24 hours a day, seven days a week; or email COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

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