This regular bi-weekly COVID-19 operational update is for the fourteen days from Thursday December 17 through Wednesday December 30.
The City’s requirement for employees and members of the public to mask while inside our municipal facilities remains in place. Hand sanitizer stations have been conveniently located just inside the entry doors of our municipal buildings so as to seek to maximize their use as soon as people enter.
In accordance with the authority granted the City Manager in Section 11 of the West Melbourne Emergency Masking Ordinance No. 2020-05, I have administratively extended the City Council’s Emergency Masking Ordinance to midnight on Monday January 4. Tomorrow, I will evaluate the need to extend the requirement another week to Monday January 11, and I am likely to approve the extension.
These one week at a time extensions are dependent upon Governor DeSantis extending the COVID-19 State of Emergency in Florida past January 2, 2021; otherwise by its own terms, the ordinance will sunset at midnight on Saturday January 2, 2021. The Governor’s most recent extension of the COVID-19 State of Emergency in Florida was via Executive Order Number 20-276. The extension is for 60 days to January 2, 2021. It is fairly likely that the Governor will extend the State of Emergency for another sixty days either Friday or Saturday.
As required by the emergency ordinance, each time I have administratively extended for one week the sunset date of the ordinance, this determination has been filed with the City Clerk and posted on the City’s web site. Each time the sunset date has been extended, this information has also been directly provided to the identified ‘essential businesses’ by members of the City’s Police Department.
While we have had some employees return to work after recovering from being infected by the COVID-19 virus, currently, the City has a fair number of employees off work who have either tested positive for COVID-19, or else who have been closely exposed to a positive person and have not yet reached the end of their quarantine period. On Tuesday, Human Resources Director Kimberly Gale sent an e-mail message informing our employees over 65, or whose spouses are over 65, or to our recently retired employees over 65 of the ability to sign up for no cost COVID-19 vaccinations through the State of Florida Health Department in Brevard County starting next Monday. These vaccinations require an advance appointment and are given only in the afternoon. The Health Department phone line for reservations has been frequently overloaded since Tuesday’s announcement of the availability of vaccinations for those over 65. Callers should keep trying to book an appointment time even as the State Health Department phone system struggles with the volume of incoming calls.
It will be a while before there will be vaccines available for the general population. In the meantime, we are advised to continue to avoid crowds, socially distance, frequently hand wash, and consistently wear our face coverings outside our immediate homes.