Stuart, FL – In response to the growing threat of COVID-19 to communities around the state, the City of Stuart is altering its operations to mitigate the threat both to its employees and the public at large. The following operational changes have gone into effect:
The City Hall Annex Building located at 101 SW Flagler Ave. in downtown Stuart will be closed to all walk-in traffic until further notice. The drive-thru window will remain open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The Public Safety Building located at 800 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.will be closed to the general public until further notice. For non-emergency questions or assistance, please call:
Stuart Police Department at (772) 287-1122.
Stuart Fire Rescue Department at (772) 287-1662.
The City of Stuart highly encourages all residents and customers to use our 24/7 online service and payment portal, whenever possible. For all online applications, payments, and services, please visit the online Paymentus portal, which can be accessed from the convenience of your computer or mobile device by visiting: https://cityofstuart.us/365/Online-Services-Tools and selecting “Online Payments.”
Utilities customers may also make payments or have their service-related questions answered over the phone by calling 772-388-5317 (option 1). The drive-thru window at the City Hall Annex is also available for parking citation and code enforcement violation payments.
The downtown courtesy tram is suspending service effective immediately until further notice.
As a result of actions taken by the city commission this morning, the March 23rdregularly scheduled commission meeting has been cancelled. All future public meetings previously scheduled this month have been rolled over to the month of April.
The City Commission also provided direction and emergency authorization to the city manager to set up a working virtual system, which will allow the city to conduct public meetings remotely while retaining public participation and records. This program, which will be free to members of the public, is expected to be live by the next regular city commission meeting on April 13th. The City will roll out an education and awareness campaign prior to the meeting so members of the public can become acquainted with its function and use.
Governor DeSantis also announced new emergency policies relating to beaches, restaurants, bars and nightclub operations today:
Beaches remain open, but visitors should limit all gatherings to no more than 10 persons.
Restaurants have been asked to limit their capacity to 50 percent or less of their allocated seating to provide better spacing between guests. Downtown merchants also encouraged to utilize take-out service operations instead of having guests dine-in and may be provided parking cones for reserving spaces for curbside pickup.
Bars and Nightclubs throughout Florida will close for the next 30 days.
Governor DeSantis announced that restaurants will have to cut their capacity by at least half. The governor said local mayors have the power to impose even stricter rules to stop COVID-19.
The coronavirus is responsible for at least two more deaths in Florida. The Florida Department of Health announced yesterday that residents of Broward County and Manatee County have died of COVID-19, which brings the statewide death toll to seven. Covid-19 will sooner or later affect most Floridians in the pocketbook.
Governor DeSantis supports the federal government cutting checks for Americans impacted by the virus.
The coronavirus is leading to some big changes for students in Florida. Governor DeSantis announced that all testing requirements for K-through-12 students are canceled for the school year.
The Florida Department of Health is now reporting 216 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state. The death toll is up to seven. Health officials confirm that nearly half of the COVID-19 cases in Florida involve people over the age of 60.
The City of Port St. Lucie has cancelled all March and April events due to the Coronavirus.The Caring Community 25th Anniversary Cleanup Day event scheduled for April 18, 2020 has been cancelled. At this time, the event will not be rescheduled
Following the direction of Gov. Ron DeSantis, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is taking numerous proactive steps to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19. The District is continuing to fulfill its core missions of protecting residents from flooding, restoring and protecting the ecosystem, ensuring adequate water supply and engaging the public all while taking aggressive steps to ensure the safety of the public and staff.
The actions SFWMD has taken to protect the public and staff while fulfilling its missions include:
All SFWMD offices, including all field stations, service centers and SFWMD headquarters in West Palm Beach, are closed to the public until further notice.
Many SFWMD staff are equipped with the technology necessary to work remotely for an extended period of time while fulfilling all District functions.
District facilities are receiving more stringent cleanings and additional protocols for public health, including social distancing, are in place.
SFWMD is exploring options to hold some upcoming public meetings online with opportunities for online public participation to ensure continued public access and engagement.
All public recreational access to SFWMD-managed lands is currently open. Information about any changes to public access to District lands for recreation will be communicated to the public as it develops.
The latest information about all SFWMD efforts and any changes related to the COVID-19 will be available at sfwmd.gov.
The campuses of all public and private K-12 schools in Florida will be closed through April 15 and students will take part in remote learning instead, state officials announced on Tuesday. According to new guidelines released by the Florida Department of Education, the closures will affect all public and private K-12 schools, along with career and technical center campuses.
“Schools are encouraged to operate virtually or through other non-classroom-based means to the greatest extent possible to implement distance learning,” the department said in a news release.
In addition, state officials said school districts should be prepared to extend their educational calendars through June 30.
In a statement, Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said:As part of the newly released guidelines, all remaining assessments for school readiness, along with VPK and K-12 assessments, are canceled for the 2019-2020 school year.K-12 school grades will not be calculated for 2019-2020 school year.
The Department of Education is urging school districts and communities to cancel any “mass gatherings, community events, and extracurricular activities including sports of more than 10 people in a single occupied space at any educational program, school readiness, voluntary prekindergarten, public and private K-12, career and technical centers, public and private colleges and universities.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Florida’s State University System announced that all state colleges and universities will do online classes only through the end of the Spring semester.
The Treasure Coast Sports Commission was looking forward to their first Social Networking Event, Thursday, March 19th at the US Sailing Center of Martin County but due to the COVID-19 (corona virus) pandemic, they are POSTPONING this event until May. For more information contact the Treasure Coast Sports Commission call 772.871.5458 or online at PlayTreasureCoastFlorida.com.
With the best interests of our community in mind, all public performances at the Sunrise Theatre for the Performing Arts and Black Box will be postponed or cancelled through April3, 2020. This decision was based on information provided by the CDC, state and local health officials to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Keeping your tickets guarantees your same seat. You always have the option for a refund when the new date is announced. With very few exceptions, most performances are postponed, not cancelled. They are working diligently with presenting partners and artist management to reschedule performances that were originally scheduled through April 3, 2020. For more information call 772-461-4775 | Sunrise Theatre Box Office.Monday–Friday 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Note, call volume is extremely high at this time.
THE 2020 NCAA TOURNAMENT MAY HAVE BEEN CANCELLED FOR 2020 BUT THE VERY BEST OF THE LAST 40 YEARS WILL BE FEATURED ON THE TREASURE COAST ON WPSL PORT ST LUCIE AND WSTU STUART FROM WESTWOOD ONE….THE HOME OF THE NCAA TOURNAMENT FOR DECADES. THE 1979 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME FEATURING THE FIRST MATCHUP BETWEEN MAGIC JOHNSON AND LARRY BIRD TIPS OFF THURSDAY NIGHT @ 8. FRIDAY IT IS THE HUGE 2018 UPSET WITH UMBC AND VIRGINIA @ 8…SATURDAY ITS DAVIDSON @ GONZAGA FROM 2008 AND THE 2008 CHAMPIONSHIP WITHKANSAS AND MEMPHIS BEGINNING @ NOON. SUNDAY FLORIDA GULF COAST AND GEORGETOWN FROM 2013 AND VILLANOVA AND NORTH CAROLINA FROM 2016. THE BEST OF THE NCAA TOURNAMENT IS BACK BEGINNING THURSDAY NIGHT.
Bars and nightclubs in Florida served their last call on Tuesday evening and will stay closed for 30 days in the midst of coronavirus concerns.Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order on Tuesday saying any bars and nightclubs which derive more than 50 percent of their revenue through selling alcohol must stop selling alcoholic beverages for 30 days.Restaurants will still be able to stay open, but under certain restrictions. Restaurants have to limit occupancy to 50 percent. They also have to keep a 6-foot distance between tables and limit groups to no more than 10 people.Restaurant employees who are showing signs of respiratory illness, who have traveled through any airport during the past 14 days, or who have been on a cruise ship over the last 14 days are not allowed to enter the restaurant, according to the executive order.The governor’s office was not immediately clear if bars could still stay open to serve food. Restaurant and bar owners and employees hope the new precautions will help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Stuart Boathouse Executive Chef John Scott said he noticed a big difference inside the restaurant Tuesday night. This time of year, the entire restaurant would be full. The bar would be full. Right now, we’re completely empty except for outdoor seating, according to Scott. Staffing for waiters was cut in half at Stuart Boathouse. One bartender was on shift instead of two. The kitchen staff was also reduced. Scott said they are constantly cleaning.Scott added the developments surrounding coronavirus will definitely impact their paychecks. The White House has stressed the need for immediate economic relief and is looking at possibly giving Americans checks to overcome financial hardships from the coronavirus. It’s still unclear how much money would be given and who would be eligible. For bar owners like Mike Carbone, anything would help. His business, Vine and Barley in downtown Stuart, will remain closed. He would have liked to see an option to still serve people under similar restrictions as restaurants.
Tom Hanks says he has the “blahs” but no fever as he and his wife Rita Wilson remain in isolation after contracting the coronavirus. A representative for the Oscar-winner confirms the pair have been released from a hospital and are in self-quarantine in Australia. The couple arrived in Australia in late January on the Gold Coast where an untitled Elvis Presley biopic directed by Baz Luhrmann was to be shot.Hanks plays Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker. The film has suspended production.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals provided tips on Tuesday on how to keep animals safe and healthy as the country deals with the spread of coronavirus.
Here are the tips provided by ASPCA:
Wash Your Hands
Although there is no current evidence that suggests the coronavirus can be transmitted to or from companion animals, it’s always a good idea to follow basic hygiene practices around animals. This includes washing your hands thoroughly throughout the day and before and after direct contact with your pets, their food or their supplies.
Play it Safe
While there have not been any reports of companion animals becoming sick from the virus, it is still recommended that people who are sick with COVID-19 limit contact with companion animals until more information is available. If you are sick or under medical attention for COVID-19, you should avoid close contact with your pets and have another member of your household care for your animals. If you must look after your pet, you should maintain good hygiene practices and wear a face mask, if possible.
Stock Up on Pet Supplies
Prepare a kit with essential supplies to have on hand in the event of an emergency. Your emergency kit should include a 30-day supply of your pets’ medications, as well as at least two weeks’ worth of food and other supplies, like litter. Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification information. Your pet’s ID tag should contain his name, telephone number and any urgent medical needs. Be sure to also write your pet’s name, your name and contact information on your pet’s carrier.
Designate an Emergency Caregiver
Proactively identify someone who could help with their short- or long-term care in the event you are unable to care for your pets. Consider a family member, friend, neighbor or a boarding facility.
Create a Pet Dossier
If your emergency caregiver’s assistance is needed, make it easier for them by having all of your pets’ information in one place. Consider including things like habits, food preferences, medical conditions and medications taken, veterinarian contact information, medical and vaccination records, and any behavioral tendencies.
By now, many are aware that toilet paper has become hard to come by as Americans stockpile it while they prepare to distance themselves from others because of the coronavirus pandemic.Now, the hysteria has gotten so bad that authorities in Oregon are asking residents not call 911 when they’ve run out of their TP.
“It’s hard to believe that we even have to post this,” wrote the Newport Police Department on Facebook. “Do not call 911 just because you ran out of toilet paper. You will survive without our assistance.”
In a long post on Facebook, the department went on to list many other options for those who run out of the precious resource – some practical, some not some much.After their original post went viral, the department later clarified that they hadn’t actually received 911 calls about being out of toilet paper.
U.S. hospitals bracing for a possible onslaught of coronavirus patients with pneumonia and other breathing difficulties could face a critical shortage of mechanical ventilators and health care workers to operate them. The Society of Critical Care Medicine has projected that 960,000 coronavirus patients in the U.S. may need to be put on ventilators at one point or another during the outbreak.But the nation has only about 200,000 of the machines, by the organization’s estimate, and around half are older models that may not be ideal for the most critically ill patients. Also, many ventilators are already being used by other patients with severe, non-coronavirus ailments.Hospitals are rushing to rent more ventilators from medical-equipment suppliers. And manufacturers are ramping up production. But whether they can turn out enough of the machines at a time when countries around the world are clamoring for them, too, is unclear.
In the most severe cases, the coronavirus damages healthy tissue in the lungs, making it hard for them to deliver oxygen to the blood. Pneumonia can develop, along with a more severe and potentially deadly condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome, which can damage other organs.Ventilators feed oxygen into the lungs of patients with severe respiratory problems through a tube inserted down the throat. The machines are also used routinely to help other hospital patients breathe, namely those undergoing surgery while under general anesthesia.
The other problem is that there are only enough respiratory therapists, specialist nurses and doctors with the ideal type of critical care training in the U.S. for about 135,000 patients to be put on ventilators at any one time, one critical care organization said.On Tuesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the Pentagon will provide 2,000 specialized ventilators to federal health authorities to help handle the outbreak. He said the machines are designed for use by troops, and the military will need to train civilians how to use them.President Donald Trump said Monday that the government is seeking to acquire more ventilators. But he angered some when he said governors should feel free to take matters into their own hands if they can obtain the equipment more quickly elsewhere.The critical care group’s estimate of the number of ventilators nationwide includes those in the U.S. government’s Strategic National Stockpile, which keeps medical supplies on hand for states to use in emergencies. The stockpile has nearly 13,000 ventilators, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Trump administration’s infectious-disease expert, told ABC on Monday. For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. Most patients recover in a matters of weeks, as seen in mainland China.Evidence from China suggests that some coronavirus patients who develop severe breathing problems need to be on ventilators for weeks, if not longer, said Dr. Jacqueline Kruser, an intensive care physician and professor at Northwestern University’s medical school.Philips Healthcare of the Netherlands; GE, which manufactures ventilators in Wisconsin and sells them globally; and Vyaire Medical Inc. of Mettawa, Illinois, all said they are stepping up production. One major rental company, US Med-Equip, reported that U.S. hospitals have rented 60 percent more ventilators, monitors and other equipment over the past few weeks than at any time last year. It said it has 6,500 ventilators on rent and expects 1,200 more to arrive within the next few weeks at its Houston headquarters.
Ciity of Port St. Lucie Advisory #2 on COVID-19
City of Port St. Lucie taking precautions to protect citizens against potential spread of virus
The City of Fort Pierce is committed to protecting the health and well-being of our citizens and visitors. In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the City of Fort Pierce is taking proactive steps to follow federal, state and local officials’ recommendations. The City of Fort Pierce declared a State of Local Emergency in order to properly prepare for, and respond to, the spread of COVID-19. These measures will not impact critical services such as utilities, police, waste and recycling collection, however, some city functions may be modified.
The following operational changes will take effect on Wednesday, March 18 until further notice:
City Hall will remain open with limited access to the public; however, all other city buildings will be closed to the public. During this unpredictable time, citizens are encouraged to take advantage of our online services, email and phone resources. For a staff directory, visit:http://www.cityoffortpierce.com/Directory.asp
The Fort Pierce City Marina will also remain open to existing tenants but will no longer accept new reservations and the gift shop is closed.
All recreational programming is canceled including Courageous Kids and Boys and Girls Club at Percy Peek Gymnasium.
All special events are canceled including shows at the Sunrise Theatre and private events at city facilities. For more information about the Sunrise Theatre and Black Box schedule, contact the box office,email@example.com or 772-461-4775
The Seven Gables Visitor Center is closed.
BARS, NIGHTCLUBS AND RESTAURANTS
Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced new restrictions across Florida to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus. Effective at 5:00 pm tonight, all bars and nightclubs throughout the state of Florida will close for the next 30 days. Restaurants must operate at 50% occupancy and should separate seated customers by a distance of at least six feet. The Governor also encourages restaurants to continue to expand take-out and delivery services. Guidance:http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/emergency/
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION RESOURCES
Businesses impacted by COVID-19 are encouraged to visit www.SBA.gov for additional information regarding guidance and disaster loan programs.
We are committed to keeping our residents safe and informed – all public notices will be provided on the city’s website, social media channels and Fort Pierce TV Channel 27. Residents may subscribe to receive updates through the “COVID-19 Information” alert center on the city’s website: www.cityoffortpierce.com. Archived updates are also available on the city’s website.
The City is expanding its efforts to protect residents by moving to limited in-person operations at Port St. Lucie’s public facilities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). These actions support continued guidance by state and local health officials to limit in-person contact. While the City continues to operate, residents are discouraged from visiting all City Hall buildings and to rely on online and over-the-phone resources.
Effective Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the City will temporarily suspend in-person services at all City Hall facilities:
Utility Systems: All customers are encouraged to manage their accounts at www.Utility.CityofPSL.com, pay by phone, 24 hours a day/7 days a week at 772-873-6400, and to utilize the drop-off box outside City Hall.
· All permitting and plan review functions will continue electronically.
· If you have been working with a particular staff member previously, please continue to do so by their phone or e-mail, unless directed otherwise.
· Commercial Development plans and permitting that are not part of the SPRC process can be submitted to UtilEng@cityofPSL.com.
· Hard Copy Submittals can be delivered via the Building Department free-standing drop-box, in front of Building B
· For any questions that cannot be addressed using the steps noted above, please call 772-873-6400 or 772-344-4320.
Building Department: The City is implementing a temporary change in policy to allow for ALL work to be submitted electronically. Contractors can submit building permits via email, regular mail or in the free-standing drop box located at the front of Building B. Temporarily, the City will allow ALL permit packages to be scanned and emailed. Documents must be submitted as a PDF. All packages must be legible and complete. Please visit www.cityofpsl.com/building for instructions on how to properly scan permit packages and label files. Incomplete packages will be sent back via email or mail. Permit submittals can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
· At this time the Drive-Thru will remain open for pickup of EXISTING paper permits currently submitted. Requests will need to be phoned into permitting at 772-871-5132 prior to pick-up.
· Please note, Florida State Statute states Homeowner Builders MUST submit in person. We are currently reviewing options on handling these types of permits and will update when available.
· As always, Permitting Staff are available by phone at 772-871-5132.
· Lobby will be closed to the public. The public can call staff at 772-871-5062 or email email@example.com for all services. Insurance certificates can be accepted via email or fax to 772-871-5229.
· Lobby will be closed to the public. Plans examiner can be reached via phone at 772-871-5132 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
· Revisions to plans can be emailed to email@example.com or placed in the free-standing drop box, located at the front of Building B.
· At this time, all inspections will be conducted as normal except for those inspections which require an inspector go into an occupied residence or business. In those, cases, the Department is working on a process for Virtual Inspections. This process will be made available on our website shortly.
Pre-Build or Pre-CO Meetings:
· If you should require a Pre-Build or Pre-CO meeting, please email the Building Department firstname.lastname@example.org. Meetings will be conducted virtually, via Microsoft Teams or Conference Call.
Additionally, the City is encouraging ALL employees to maintain a 6-foot social distance between themselves and others, at all times. The Building Department will strive to maintain all customer-established timelines during this time. Due to unforeseen circumstances and the ever-changing information from the CDC, these policies may change. Please check the City’s website for the latest updates.
Public Works: The Department will limit customer interactions to the use of electronic or telephone communications. Please see below for a directory on how to contact Public Works during this period.
· Customer Service – via the 1PSL app, 1PSL website, or by phone at (772) 871-5100
· Commercial Development applications and permitting – via email@example.com, or by phone at (772) 871-5178
· Hard Copy Submittals can be delivered via the Building Department free-standing drop-box in front of Building B or schedule a drop off by calling (772) 871-5177
· Traffic, Streets & Drainage Operations – can be contacted at (772) 871-5100
Police Department: The PSL PD is taking the necessary precautions to protect first responders and ensure continued emergency response services as this situation evolves. As this develops, don’t be surprised to see police officers and other City employees wearing personal protective equipment. If you are in need of services at your residence and call the City or 911, please advise us if someone in your household is sick or not feeling well so that the responding personnel can take the appropriate protective measures. The PD also has suspended all fingerprinting to the public until further notice.
Planning and Zoning: Please call the Planner of the Day at 772-871-5213 or email the department at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or inquiries.
All pre application meetings will be scheduled as a teleconference and will be coordinated as such.
Neighborhood Services: At this time, the collection of garbage, yard waste, bulk trash and recycling in the City of Port St. Lucie will continue without interruption on your regularly scheduled days. The City is asking all residents to curtail the wholesale cutback of trees and shrubs that would typically be put curbside in large piles, as well as refrain from putting out large bulk piles of debris and household items.
Like other businesses, the City’s garbage hauler Waste Pro, may experience fluctuations in their workforce due to precautionary measures or as a direct result of exposure to COVID-19. Though every effort will be made to provide uninterrupted service, we’re asking all residents that for the next two months, be more cognizant of the amount of garbage and trash they generate that would typically be put curbside. Put out only what’s necessary. Large piles of debris are time consuming and labor-intensive collections that can slow down or hinder the recovery of regular scheduled services.
By taking these three simple steps; reduce, recycle and refrain, we as a City can still maintain a level of cleanliness that we’re all accustomed to.
Please call Waste Pro 772-595-9390 with any questions.
Parks & Recreation:
All City recreational programming and activities are suspended until Monday, March 30, 2020. The City is canceling any reservation, whether for indoor or outdoor (park pavilion) amenities, for any party of more than 11 people.
The City is modifying procedures regarding fitness facilities to limit use to groups of 10 or less. More details will be forthcoming.
The Saints Golf Course remains open to the public. All golf instruction has been suspended until March 30, 2020.
Reservations are not being taken at any facility, except for tee times at the Saints Golf Course.
At MIDFLORIDA Event Center/Recreation the gym, racquetball courts and game room are closed to the public. Minsky Gym is also closed to the public as is the game room at the Port St. Lucie Community Center.
MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Event Center: The facility remains opened with normal operating hours. The event center is accommodating private and public events and rentals that have requested a postponement.
The City’s COVID-19 webpage https://www.cityofpsl.com/covid19 is accessible with all relevant information. The City’s Facebook page @CityofPSL and the City’s Twitter page, @CityPortStLucie and NextDoor App page also will have up-to-the-minute information.
Important Phone Numbers:
Citizens can use the 1PSL mobile app to request services, pay their utility bill, ask questions, and learn about City news and updates. The new 1PSL mobile app is free on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Those who prefer to use the telephone can call 772-871-1775 (1PSL) at any time of the day and reach a 1PSL navigator who can assist with questions or requests. For those who prefer to use their computer, the 1PSL web portal can be accessed at www.cityofpsl.com/1PSL.