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June 10 Virtual Town Hall Q & A

Posted 6/10/2020 2:38:00 PM

Kimberly Norman

Please Note: Due to the nature of information being released frequently regarding COVID-19, changes at the local, state and federal level may have occurred since answers were provided.

In attendance of the June 10 COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall were Mayor Milissa Holland, City Manager Matthew Morton, Fire Chief Jerry Forte, FDOH-Flagler Administrator Bob Snyder, FDOH-Flagler Medical Director Dr. Stephen Bickel, and Flagler County Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord.


Mr. Snyder gave an update from the health department starting with highlighting their three priorities. Those are testing, the positive case investigation and contact tracing, and finally nursing homes/long-term care facilities. They also tested some of the homeless population earlier this week. He provided more insight into the testing of different community groups and their associations. He also said if there is a need for masks, they have them at the health department and you can call him at 386-313-7105 to request them. His update is from 2:20-8:30.

Mr. Lord provided an update from county emergency management. He said they are still conducting testing at the Daytona State College site Tuesday-Thursday and you can call 386-313-4200 during normal business hours to make an appointment. He also touched on hurricane season regarding shelters. He said they have plans with partners in place to protect residents. His update runs from 9:45-17:00.

Chief Forte then provided some information, insight and background on the reopening strategy. As of now, the City is looking at a re-entry of June 15 for city employees. Part of this allows leaders to see how operations and processes will work. Following that, the City is looking at the week of July 7 to allow the public back into the City Hall building. Over the past few months, firefighters have been limited on interactions in the public. Now, they are planning to participate in additional training next month and assist senior citizens in smoke detector replacement in the future. His update runs from 17:30-24:40.

Mr. Morton also added that they have a soft opening for City Hall on July 6 and will require the public to wear masks, participate in temperature checks, and answer a health questionnaire to enter the building. Once inside, everyone will have the follow social distancing guidelines and not congregate in groups larger than 50. The first in-person city council meeting will be July 7, with a limit of no more than 50 people. He said they will continue to encourage virtual services since there hasn't been an interruption due to going virtual. He also shared that the best sources of communication from the City are through Palm Coast Connect and the shared articles from there to our social media platforms. His update runs from 25:35-31:20.


Question 1:

Is there no state-wide requirement for health care and diagnostic testing facilities to require masks for both health care professionals as well as the patients to wear masks? The only place that I have felt safe so far was at one facility in Palm Coast that required everyone to wear a mask and even screened you before you came in the door.

Answer 1:

Mr. Snyder said he has been some local facilities and many are doing the right thing and making it mandatory and conducting temperature checks and adhering to social distancing. It's not mandatory by an executive order, but it is strongly recommended. Hear the full answer from 32:48-33:30.


Question 2:

How can we as community members address the issue of food service workers (and those working in large retail and discount sites) not wearing masks appropriately? Many do not have their nose covered and seem to disregard the value.

Answer 2:

Dr. Bickel said some of the challenges involving the transmission of the virus make it hard to get everyone on board with mask-wearing. He said health experts are trying to pick the best measures that maintain the economy and maintain the public's health.

Mr. Lord added that mask-wearing is a simple thing that's not intrusive and everyone can do indoors to help protect the community.

Hear the full answer on this from 34:05-39:22.


Question 3

The governor has now recognized that the increase in Florida virus cases is in part attributable to a failure to wear masks. Wouldn't it therefore just make sense to make it a mandate? I shop online and do not patronize our local stores because they are not enforcing mask-wearing by their customers and employees. How do we get that to change? If the desired effect, as re-opening the economy begins, is to increase revenue for our struggling businesses, isn't it counterproductive to not enforce mask-wearing, make more customers feel safe and bring in more business?

Answer 3:

Please refer back to the video from 32:48 to 39:22 for the discussion on masks during questions one and two.


Question 4:

Why is the wearing of masks required when visiting Flagler County government facilities, but not elsewhere? Isn't that a double standard? Given that a substantial number of our residents are still avoiding patronizing local businesses because they are not enforcing the wearing of masks by their employees and customers, what efforts could be undertaken to encourage these businesses to do better?

Answer 4:

Please refer back to the video from 32:48 to 39:22 for the discussion on masks during questions one and two.

Discussion among town hall experts about a possible resurgence run from 41:00-45:22.

Question 5:

Why do residents of Orange County get help with rent, utilities, etc. They announced on TV just received $146 million dollars to help their residents from the government. Where is our help?

Answer 5:         

Mr. Morton said as for the first stimulus package known as the CARES Act, unfortunately the City of Palm Coast did not qualify. However, the City did work through the Community Development Block Grant Program to allocate $100,000 in July to help low to moderate income residents with utilities in the coming months. The City, as part of its annual budget process, did grant money to human services agencies in Flagler County for utility bill assistance. You can contact our customer service department through Palm Coast Connect at for more information. The City has also been working with the local faith-based groups to provide further utility bill assistance. We've also worked with lobbying groups for possibly some extra CARES funding for those regions that didn't get it. The City has also not had late fees or penalties for utility service. Hear the full answer from 45:47-48:16.


Question 6:

Can you share reopening details for Phase II regarding summer camps and the community center?

Answer 6:

Mr. Morton said effective June 15, camps will resume which was coordinated with Flagler County and Flagler Schools. For now, City leaders are waiting on some supplies to come in for the Community Center to ensure safety and that protocols are in place.  Chief Forte also provided some insight to this. Hear the full answer from 49:15-53:15.


Question 7:

Would you be able to offer any advice regarding procedures to follow when you have people coming to the house to conduct service calls or installations inside your house? Are we allowed to ask people to wash or sanitize their hands? Are we allowed to ask them to wear a mask?

Answer 7:

Yes, it is your home. You can hear the expert's guidance from 53:25-54:49.


Question 8:

What is the schedule to open City Hall for regular business and what are the requirements for those who enter? When will public meetings be held in-person again? 

Answer 8:

Please refer to the opening comments by Mr. Morton and Chief Forte above. Mr. Lord also provided some details on the strategy for Flagler County Government meetings from 55:30-56:43.


Question 9:

Why aren't we seeing daily reports from Flagler County Government? The regular dash board doesn't give us all the numbers and is kinda important to see what zip codes have what cases in them.

Answer 9:

Please contact Flagler County Government for questions on this.


Question 10:

How can people that can't make it to food drives get some help? I see some counties are starting to give an extra $1,000 dollars to people that need it. First check practically just help people to pay their rent and get some food. Jobs are not working people their full hours and are working less hours. This would be a big help to this county. Any news for our county to receive this help?

Answer 10:

Please refer to question 5 and the information shared then.