Mayor's Letter to Residents
*Updated at 04:00 pm on March 24, 2020
As the global Coronavirus COVID-19 crisis continues to grow, the Town of Surfside remains committed to staying on top of the most up-to-date information in order to make informed decisions to help safeguard our community. The situation is changing rapidly, so the Town will be providing regular updates as new information emerges.
Town Commission Declares State of Emergency
The Town Commission declared a State of Emergency in Surfside on March 12, 2020 to help Town leaders and emergency managers expedite their response to the Coronavirus COVID-19. This declaration is simply a way for the Town to access support from the federal government that is only available under the State of Emergency and to pursue additional emergency orders if needed.
Surfside Issues "Safer at Home" Emergency Order
With the rise of coronavirus outbreaks in South Florida, Town officials in Surfside are taking swift action to help further combat the spread of the virus. The Town has issued a “Safer at Home” emergency order, urging residents to stay at home unless absolutely necessary. The latest Emergency Order by the Town goes into effect starting at 6 p.m. tonight, March 24, 2020.
What You Should Know About COVID-19
COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes. These droplets may land on objects and surfaces. Other people may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days following exposure. Most people recover from COVID-19 without needing special treatment. The elderly and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The CDC and FDOH recommends everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
- Staying home when you are sick and avoiding contact with persons in poor health;
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then disposing of the tissue;
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing;
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty; and
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
The CDC does not recommend that asymptomatic, healthy people wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
If a person has been in contact with a person with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 or experiences a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after travel from China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan and any other destination under CDC travel advisory, they should call ahead to their health care provider and local county health department (CHD). The health care professional will work with the Department to determine if the person should be tested for COVID-19.
Stay Home and Stay Healthy
Two religious leaders in our area tested positive for COVID-19. Residents may be contacted by the Florida Department of Health and the CDC to direct those who may have been in close contact with either leader to seek medical attention and testing.
The Town of Surfside cannot stress enough the importance for residents, especially our at-risk seniors, to stay home and reduce risks to exposure.
If you are sick or are exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus, call your medical provider and self-isolate at home. Wait for instructions from your medical provider in order to further prevent the spread of infection. For guidelines from the CDC, visit here.
If it is necessary for you to leave your home to pick up essentials at the grocery store or pharmacy, then be sure to protect yourself in public. This includes:
- Use sanitizer wipes on carts and carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Social distancing (leave at least six-feet between you and others)
- No gatherings of 10 or more people
Shopping online and ordering restaurant takeout will also further minimize your need to leave the house, and help support local businesses.
Keeping At-Risk Seniors Safe
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults and people with weakened immune systems or serious medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, are at higher risk of becoming very sick from this illness. Important resources for our seniors can be found here.
Please refer to the enclosed flyer for a list of steps you can take to help prevent infection - Coronavirus (COVID-19): Background and Prevention
- Sign up for CodeRED alert system
- Sign up for Town email notifications
In addition, the Town recommends referring to the following most up-to-date resources:
Hotlines for Florida Department of Health and Miami-Dade County Public Schools
For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the Florida Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 hotline by calling 1-866-779-6121 or by emailing email@example.com.
For updates from Miami-Dade County Public Schools, please visit covid19.dadeschools.net | M-DCPS also has a hotline, which is 305-995-3000.
What Is the Difference Between Self-Quarantine, Self-Isolation and Social Distancing?
Currently, there is a lot of information on the internet about COVID-19 and how the public should self-quarantine, self-isolate or practice social distancing during the pandemic. The Town found a couple helpful resources to help explain these terms. In case you are curious, please visit the following:
COVID-19: Understanding Quarantine, Isolation and Social Distancing in a Pandemic - Cleveland Clinic
Self-Quarantine? Isolation? Social Distancing? What They Mean and When To Do Them - NPR
COVID-19 Drive-Thru Testing Sites in South Florida
There are a number of new COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites in South Florida. For a list, please visit here.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools Suspends Schools Until April 15, 2020
Florida public schools including Miami-Dade County Public Schools are closed until April 15, 2020.
Surfside to Close All Hotels and Commercial Lodging Businesses
The Town of Surfside issued the closure of all area hotels and commercial lodging businesses, starting at 11:59 pm on Monday, March 23, until further notice. To also review the latest Emergency Orders by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez pertaining to COVID-19, visit here.
Miami-Dade County Orders Closures of All Public Beaches, Parks, Non-Essential Retail and Commercial Establishments
In accordance with the latest Emergency Orders signed by Mayor Carlos Gimenez, all Miami-Dade County parks and public beaches including those in Surfside, are closed until further notice; however, the hardback and the walking/jogging path remain open.
All non-essential retail and commercial establishments have been ordered closed. This includes for example, shops, salons, casinos, and social clubs. These extraordinary measure are being taken to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Restrictions for Restaurants, Bars and Other Businesses
As the Town of Surfside continues to adapt to rapidly changing conditions and measures, the administration, in coordination with Miami-Dade County, is imposing the following temporary restrictions per an Emergency Order announced Tuesday, March 17, 2020 by County Mayor Carlos Gimenez:
- All food establishments with seating for eight or more people must close on-premises service to customers until further notice. This includes restaurants, bars, taverns, pubs, night clubs, banquet halls, cocktail lounges, cabarets, breweries, cafeterias and any other alcohol and/or food service establishment where people gather.
- The order does not apply to delivery services, pick up or takeout services.
- The order also does not apply to grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and convenience stores.
- All movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys, arcades, gymnasiums and fitness studios shall close. However, this order does not apply to gymnasiums or fitness centers that are amenities of hotels and which have a capacity of 10 people or less or for condominiums.
The Emergency Order is effective as of 11:00 pm, March 17, 2020.
The Town greatly values its business community and considers them important partners in stopping the spread of COVID-19. As demonstrated in the past, the Town will advocate on behalf of businesses to secure assistance at the county and federal level in order to help lessen the financial burden that is impacting everyone.
Town Facilities Closed and Programs Canceled or Postponed
As part of its continued efforts to keep residents, employees, visitors, and local businesses’ healthy and safe, the Town of Surfside has closed all municipal facilities until further notice. These facilities include Town Hall, Community Center, Tennis Center, 96th Street Park, Tot Lot, and Dog Park. The following programs and/or services have been impacted as a result:
- All Town meetings, committees, recreation activities, spring adventure camp, community events, and after school programs have been either canceled or postponed until further notice
- Operations for the Surf-Bay-Bal community shuttle bus are currently suspended until further notice
The Town’s Public Works Department will continue to pick-up trash, recycling and bulk items as scheduled.
For any additional schedule changes and updates, please check the Town website.
Construction Sites Closed in Surfside
Effective starting March 18, 2020, all construction activities within the Town of Surfside will be closed. There will be no construction activities allowed. These precautionary measures are being taken to help prevent community spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19, as well as for the public's health and well-being.
Surfside Waives Late Utility Fees, Grants Permit Extensions
In order for residents and local businesses to focus on their health and safety, the Town of Surfside will be doing the following as a courtesy:
- For utility payments due within the next 30 days, the Town will not impose any new late fees or penalties. As a reminder, utility bills can be paid online by clicking HERE.
- For permits expiring soon, the Building Department will notify residents in order to grant a 30-day extension.
AT&T to Waive Wireless Voice and Data Overage Fees
it is waiving domestic wireless voice and data overage fees nationwide, and the waiver retroactively applies back to March 13. AT&T also announced
it will not halt service for wireless, home phone, broadband residential or small business customers if they cannot pay the bill because of coronavirus disruptions. It is also waiving late fee payments for those customers.
Feeling restless or bored at home? Lucky for our residents, seniors and kids, numerous organizations are offering free virtual online tours and classes. The Town of Surfside has rounded up several ideas and will be adding to the list found here.
For Your Mental Health
Jewish Community Services of South Florida (JCS) continues to serve the community during Coronavirus outbreaks. JCS remains open, providing food, counseling, crisis response and information, and referral services. For assistance, please call 2-1-1 or (305) 576-6550.