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Written By NaviPay Blog Contributor:
Suzanne Davis
Coastal Business Evolution, LLC

The never-ending roller coaster that is the Corona-virus pandemic seems to primarily be on an upward projection in Florida. In the last eight days (July 1 -July 8) there have only been two days where the number of new positive cases dropped below 9,000. In there was our record-breaking 11,406. The positive rate has been as high as 15%.

With numbers that high, there is bound to be a negative impact on local businesses. These impacts are likely to come about because of three distinct reactions.

  1. People will be voluntarily staying home more to try to protect themselves from the virus.
  2. Local governments are putting stricter regulations in place, rolling back, and requiring businesses to operate within stricter guidelines and at much less capacity.
  3. People will reject local guidelines and decide not to go out at all or will refuse to visit businesses that insist customers must adhere to the stricter guidelines.

Personally, I feel that the response to the increase by our politicians makes me think of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride because every day there are twists and turns–something new occurs with regard to our lives and livelihoods amid the pandemic.

On Monday, July 6th, Governor DeSantis decided to take a reassuring stance stating that there was really “no need to be fearful” of the spike in cases. He continued that reassurance stating that the positive rate had been holding steady at about 14.15% for the last week. He sort of glossed over the fact that our reopening criteria were a positive rate of 5% or lower—which is where we were from the beginning of May until the second week of June. Although there is “no need to be fearful” on Tuesday, July 7th, our Governor also extended the state of emergency for 60 more days.

The Florida Department of Education Commissioner, Richard Corcoran was also in “no fear” mode on Monday. He signed an executive order that all brick and mortar schools will be open 5 days a week beginning in August. Some parents lauded this announcement because it meant that they could resume normal work lives when their kids were in school. Others are fearful for the safety of their kids and teachers, not to mention any high-risk members of the families that children return home to…. Not so fast on the brick and mortar-it came crashing down in Palm Beach County on Wednesday when the school board members came to a consensus that schools will open with online learning only in August. A formal vote will be held next week.

So last week, before our historic 11,406 number, we saw bars closed statewide and beaches from Martin County to Key West Closed for the holiday weekend. While DeSantis was telling us not to worry, Miami-Dade Mayor, Carlos Gimenez, was taking a stronger stance on Monday. He ordered that all restaurants would be going back to takeout and delivery only and that all gyms were to close. After threats of legal action by businesses, he has since allowed restaurants to continue outdoor dining along with takeout and delivery, and gyms to remain open with masks mandatory inside.

On Tuesday, Martin County Commissioners doubled down on masks. Prior to this only workers in public places were required to wear them. Tuesday’s order extends that to all people in public places. And like Palm Beach County, there are fines imposed for noncompliance.

Last evening, Broward County Mayor, Dale Holness signed an order with additional restrictions for restaurants and vacation rentals.  Restaurants must stop serving at 10-pm and dine-in service must end at 10-pm. Vacation rentals must be limited to the people signed up for the rental, meaning no visitors and a maximum of 10 occupants. Penalties are strict with the first offense ending in a 24-hour closure and subsequent offenses impose a 72-hour shutdown.

At this writing, in-spite of dramatically high numbers, Palm Beach County has not imposed any additional restrictions.

Just when you think that this cannot get any more dark and foreboding, Dr. Alina Alonzo, Director of the Palm Beach County Health Departments warns that Corona-virus will come back even stronger during flu season. She counters with the “no-fear” message saying, “I don’t think people should be fearful. I think they need to get educated. Stay strong. Stay safe,” Alonso said. There’s no need to fear, you just need to have the right education to know how to handle it.”

Yup, this feels like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Disney is the happiest place on earth and the Mr. Toad attraction was EXTREMELY unusual in that it culminates in death and a trip straight to hell. We are living through unusual times with way too many deaths and it feels like hell some days, but like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, this too shall end. Even amid protests from fans, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride closed forever on September 7, 1998, and replaced by a Winnie the Pooh and Friends attraction. Who doesn’t love Winnie the Pooh? He would look cute in a mask……

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