COVID-19 Awareness and News
A Quick Message From Poquito Bayou Comminuty Association
We would like to ask our members to take the best precautions and practices to avoid the spread and potential contact of the rapidly spreading COVID-19 "corona virus."
We will be moving all future events to the appropriate dates for when this virus is not a threat to our community.
Any changes to our calendar will be announced on our website, as well as the community billboard on Poquito Road.
If you would like to help during this time of need, please see our volunteer page. Click here
March 17, 2020
There was a Commission meeting today. There were action items. Some were consequential, but not really. At least not in the context of the most significant item facing us all right now. Obviously, I'm talking about COVID-19 or, as I am recommending, "The Suck" which, is a term I took to be millennial in origin, but I am learning more likely originated with U.S. Marines as far back as the Vietnam War. And so while begging apologies from my friend Mr. Ellis of Milligan, and all you other kick-ass Marines out there for my trivialization of your phrase, I am sticking with my conclusion that for the rest of us mere mortal Americans, COVID-19 is indeed, The Suck.
But back to the issue at hand: As required by our own rules, we had to vote via a super-majority to take up an item that was not on our agenda, that being COVID-19 (aka, "The Suck"). Not surprisingly, the motion passed unanimously.
Next, we proceeded on a four hour discussion of all things COVID-19. During the discussion we reached a number of decision points. I am proud that at each point, we ultimately found unanimous agreement and adopted decisive action. Specifically, the Board took the following actions during the meeting, all by unanimous vote:
1. All non-essential committee and ancillary advisory board and committee meetings were cancelled for the next 30 days. When a question about the essential nature of a meeting arises, we delegated the authority to Chairman Trey Goodwin to make a final decision.
2. The upcoming workshop on all things beaches was cancelled along with all further workshops until further notice.
3. All future Commission meetings will be held in Shalimar until further notice, social distancing measures at these meetings will be far easier to implement at the Shalimar facility.
4. Commission meetings will now be held weekly instead of every other week, to allow us to adopt to changing guidance and conditions. All non-essential items such as non-binding proclamations and resolutions will be suspended as will public hearings likely to draw large crowds. (as a side note, we did have the privilege of proclaiming today to be Miss Clover Hicks Day in Okaloosa County. Clover, who is only 5-years old, recently won the title of Miss Agribusiness in Okaloosa County and has already contributed much back to her fellow Americans to include volunteering at local animal shelters. Clover is likely to also now enjoy the distinction of being the last to receive a Proclamation in her honor in Okaloosa County ahead of the coming Pandemic).
5. The Emerald Coast Convention Center was effectively closed through April 30 to discourage any large gatherings of people.
6. County Welcome Centers (funded by tourist taxes) were directed to be closed by this coming Monday until further notice. We will continue to man the phones to inform visitors of the current status of business in Okaloosa County.
7. Staff from the Convention Center and Welcome Centers will be redirected to support our Public Information and Emergency Management departments.
8. The lobby at Water & Sewer Administration Building was directed to be closed no later than Monday, March 23. Services will be provided remotely or through our drive-through service center.
9. Water and Sewer bills will not be cut-off for non-payment for at least the next 30 days, subject to extension by the Commission.
10. All permits for public events with gatherings of 10 or more people through the end of April have been revoked and no further permits will be issued for the same period, to include weddings and other gatherings on the beach.
11. Staff was directed to promulgate and implement heightened sanitization procedures for staff and the public in all spaces subject to regular human contact.
12. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a local state of emergency was declared for Okaloosa County. This action will streamline the decision making process within County Government and increase our likelihood for Federal funding reimbursement (if there is any money left to reimburse with once all is said is done).
We will meet next Tuesday at 8:30 am to revisit the decision above and take more action as necessary unless the Chairman finds it necessary to call a special meeting earlier to stay on top of evolving Federal and State Recommendations. Stay safe out there and pray for our community and our economy.
Crystal's Corner: Wash yo' hands
"And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal. And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed." - Kitty O'Meara
This means different things for different people, but the point is all the same. We didn't ask for this or see it coming, but different things matter now. This is a complete "reset" for all of us, some more substantial than others. My heart is heavy but my hope is great. Our community has overcome great challenges in the past, and I'm confident we're set up to rebound much better than other parts of our world. Stay diligent and positive, the best you can.
On a lighter note, I feel like I'm leading the curve in our family with my germaphobic response to the Covid-19 scare. Nathan is very "over" me at the moment, and the real miracle here will be that my extreme germaphobic bullying tactics don't end up with us sitting at the divorce attorney's conference table (which I'll wipe down first with Lysol wipes that I overpaid for on Amazon, of course). And also, I would love to report to my Granny in heaven that I now understand why she had five cake mixes in her pantry at once. I made note of her depression-era informed lifestyle and we will at least have high calorie, low nutritional dessert for the next two weeks.
I do have one success to report - Quinn is finally on board with hand-washing (major milestone since "licking snot tastes good" was the battle we were fighting last week). It may have involved some germaphobic bullying tactics, but I feel like I've made a real breakthrough.
Stay safe and let's work together during these uncharted times. We'll be better for it on the other side.
Your Okaloosa County Commissioner
I always welcome your feedback with regard to any topic which appears in these updates or on any other County matter. However, please be sure to direct any correspondence related to County business to my County email address (firstname.lastname@example.org). All such correspondence shall be considered a public record pursuant to Florida's open records laws. Any views or opinions expressed in this Newsletter are mine alone and do not necessarily represent the official position of the County Commission or the views or opinions of any other Commissioner. This Newsletter is not an official record or transcript of the matters presented to, or the decisions made by the Commission and should not be relied upon as such.
Until the conclusion of the 2020 election cycle, this newsletter, though not intended to be a political advertisement, will include the statutorily required campaign disclosure...
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Nathan D. Boyles, Republican for Okaloosa County Commission.