As I fully expected, Governor DeSantis has issued a statewide order for everyone to stay at home unless they are going out for essential services or activities. I fully support the governor’s decision to issue this executive order. It is going to hurt, but it has to be done.
You can find a copy of the order here: https://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/orders/2020/EO_20-91.pdf
Issuing a stay at home order for New Port Richey alone would not have made any sense. We are simply too small to make much difference by ourselves. We took initial steps like closing the library, rec center and playgrounds. Shutting most things down statewide should help slow the spread of the virus.
President Trump and his experts have stated that our country may have as many as 200,000 to 240,000 fatalities from the virus, even if we do everything right. Unstopped, the country could be looking at 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 deaths. These numbers should be sobering. This is not a “hoax” and is not “fake news.” It is our new reality.
We need to avoid doing “stupid stuff” that puts both ourselves and others at risk. A number of churches have reacted to the limits on gatherings by switching to online church services. My own church has now streamed the last two services from a nearly empty sanctuary. It is amazing what five people can accomplish working together: The Pastor, the choir director, the organist, and a couple of us techs to make things happen was all it took. Given my church’s number of older members, it simply didn’t make sense to put them at risk by holding a regular service in the building and asking them to risk their lives to attend. We’re helping them figure out how to watch the service live on facebook or the recording on Youtube. You might say that we’ve been forced to move our church into the 21st century!
Will everything come to a complete standstill for a month? No.
There are quite a few jobs included in the Department of Homeland Security’s definition of “essential services.” The list is included as an attachment to the governor’s order.
Even for essential services, people who can work from home are encouraged to do so. One of my projects for the past couple of weeks at my company has been to set up clients’ employees so that they can work from home securely over VPN (Virtual Private Network) connections. I’ll likely split my time between working by myself in my otherwise deserted office and working from home. Network operations is an essential service.
Take out and home delivery of food from local restaurants is still permitted. Bars are permitted to offer their products “to go” and both Cotee River Brewing and Ordinance One are offering a selection of beers to go. We took advantage of “Taco Tuesday” at Juan’s last night. We’ll continue to order take out from our local restaurants as we can. I strongly encourage you to continue to support our local bars and restaurants.
I encourage you to honor Governor DeSantis’ order and stay at home to the extent possible and practice safe distancing when you must go out. Lets all do our part to minimize the toll that COVID-19 takes on our residents.
Rob Marlowe, Mayor