PALM COAST, Fla. – Palm Coast’s mayor is asking residents to stay home in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Mayor Milissa Holland signed the emergency stay-home order late Sunday night, calling on people not to go out unless they need to stock up on vital supplies. The voluntary order is in place for 30 days.
In a statement through a city spokesperson, Holland acknowledged the unprecedented nature of the order but said it’s a necessary move due to the “extraordinary” public health emergency presented by coronavirus.
“I am asking that you recognize and adhere to this voluntary order to shelter in place — that is, stay at home — except for certain essential activities,” Holland said in part.
Flagler County officials have already taken a series of steps intended to reduce people’s exposure to the virus including shutting down all of its beaches Monday and canceling a wide range of events.
Exceptions would be made for people who need to go grocery shopping, pick up medicine and fill their tanks with gasoline, as well as work-related travel for those with essential jobs.
According to the Florida Department of Health, two of Flagler County’s three COVID-19 patients are located in Palm Coast. It’s not yet known if any of the cases are travel-related.
The mayor cited the public’s responsibility to do everything in its power not only to prevent new transmissions of coronavirus but also avoid placing a burden on the state’s healthcare system.
The order is extraordinary, especially considering that Gov. Ron DeSantis has resisted ordering Floridians to stay home — despite a standing request to do so from Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, as well as similar measures in place in populous states such as New York and California.
“We have an opportunity to take actions that have a known effect to slow transmission of the COVID-19 virus and reduce infections,” Holland said.
The city is emphasizing the importance of social distancing, or limiting close contact with others, which is widely accepted by health experts as the key to curbing the spread of the virus.
“When this is over, it is imperative that we look back and do not question whether we did enough,” the mayor said. “The quicker that we accept our reality and act upon it, the quicker we can return to normalcy.”
Jerry Moore and his wife, who live in Palm Coast, were out walking the couple’s dog on Monday. Moore believes the order handed down by the city is necessary.
“I think that our leadership, our government leadership locally and statewide and federal, are doing the right thing,” Moore said.