March 25, 2020
Consistent with Florida Governor Ron Desantis’ Executive Order 20-83 directing issuance of a public health advisory by the State Surgeon General and State Health Officer to the following effect, the City of Bartow is hereby urging all persons over 65 years of age and all persons who have a serious underlying medical condition, regardless of age, to stay at home, avoid gatherings of 10 or more people and take such other measures as necessary to limit their risk of exposure to COVID-19. Serious underlying medical conditions include, but are not limited to, chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, serious heart condition(s), compromised immune system, in-process cancer treatment and severe obesity.
Governor Desantis’ Executive Order 20-82 requires all persons entering the State of Florida from an area with substantial community spread (to include Connecticut, New Jersey and New York) to isolate or quarantine for 14 days or the duration of their stay, whichever is shorter. The required period of isolation or quarantine is to commence upon entry into the State. Failure to comply with the above travel-related isolation and quarantine Order constitutes a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment not to exceed 60 days, a fine not to exceed $500, or both.
Further, all such travelers are required to inform any individual in Florida with whom they’ve had direct physical contact that they have traveled from an area with substantial community spread.
The City of Bartow is continuing to operate under its Declaration of Public Health State of Emergency based upon a COVID-19 containment strategy. Toward that end, all public meetings & congregate indoor activities have been canceled, library & recreation buildings have been closed and access to other city buildings has been limited. Outdoor recreation facilities (parks, courts, sports fields & golf course) remain open subject to adherence to social distancing and group size limiting protocols advocated by both the CDC and Florida Department of Health. City employee out-of-county business travel has been prohibited and city employee personal out-of-county travel has been discouraged.
These measures have been implemented to limit the potential for persons living and/or working in the Bartow community to become infected with the COVID-19 virus. Thus far, our efforts in that regard have been successful.
However, everyone in our community can substantially contribute to the effectiveness of these efforts by avoiding non-essential contact with persons in or from areas which have been notably affected by this disease, especially, at-risk persons noted above. Please, postpone discretionary out-of-the-area travel and unnecessary interaction with out-of-the-area visitors, at least until conditions stabilize.
Several local food and general supply stores are offering exclusive access to age 65+ seniors at times and on days noted on the attached listing. We applaud their willingness to accommodate the needs of those among us who are most vulnerable.
If you feel that you may have been infected by the COVID-19 virus, contact Florida Department of Health in Polk County at (863) 519-7911 for an over-the-phone evaluation and recommendation.
We can do this! This is Bartow!
George A. Long