Springtime Tallahassee, Word Of South Festival Canceled Amid Coronavirus Fears
Springtime Tallahassee, upcoming commission meetings and the Word of South Festival are canceled. The City and County announced the moves today as worries about the coronavirus increase. The County has canceled events like Leon Works that were expected to bring in hundreds of people. Leon County schools will remain open after the Spring Break holiday.
Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey says the city will comply with Gov. Ron DeSantis's recommendations to limit all mass gatherings for the next 30 days. Dailey is calling upon residents to start implementing safe practices that include:
- Avoiding large gatherings
- Staying home if sick
- Practicing good hand hygiene
He's also asking employers to allow employees to work remotely when appropriate.
"While you may be fine if you contract the virus, others with underlying health conditions may not be. For the vast majority of folks who contract the virus the best course of action is to self isolate for 14 days," Dailey said.
He announced during the press conference that the city will not be disconnect utility services for those who haven't paid their bills for the next 60 days. That includes water and sewer. There are currently no cases of Covid-19 in Tallahassee or Leon County.
As city and county government and gatherings begin to slow, the Leon County School District says it's planning to remain open after Spring Break.
"We just have to ensure that we are making decisions based on science and not mass hysteria," says Superintendent Rocky Hanna.
Hanna’s calling for students and employees that travel overseas or on cruise ships to self-quarantine for 14-days after they return, per CDC instructions. Employees would have to take personal leave. Students would be excused but would still have makeup work on a case by case basis.
Hanna noted that his family cancelled their vacation to the Virgin Islands.
“Our students live with their parents and their parents have jobs and need to go to work and our children need to be fed every single day and some of the only meals that our kids that are getting are breakfast and lunch at school," Hanna says.
Hanna says Leon County Schools will make another announcement on March 18 that will address field trips and athletic activities post-spring break.
Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare's Ryan Smith says staff has been preparing to treat patients with the coronavirus, if they're confirmed to have Covid-19. He also note that they’ve only tested eight people for the coronavirus. CEO of Capital Regional Medical Center Alan Keesee says his hospital has two months of medical supplies in preparation for an outbreak. That includes masks.