City commission still worried about possible exponential growth of virus


During tonight’s Gainesville City Commission meeting, the commission discussed the County’s new Emergency Order, with Mayor Lauren Poe saying there are “still some question marks out there.”

City Manager Lee Feldman said the main differences between the governor’s order and the County’s order are in occupancy and group sizes: Retail establishments and restaurants are limited to 50% occupancy, versus the 100% allowed under the governor’s order. The County’s order also limits groups to 10 or fewer people, while the governor’s order allows groups of 50 or fewer people. Feldman said that movie theaters cannot open under the County’s order.

Feldman said, “Our biggest concern is in messaging… I think everybody is thinking they can open under the governor’s order, and we will have to educate them differently.” Face masks are still required unless eating or drinking. The County Commission will meet on Tuesday and may amend their order then.

County Spokesman Mark Sexton called in to the meeting and said, “All of the businesses that were opened yesterday in the governor’s order are open in Alachua County…” Although the County hasn’t issued a new Emergency Order, their existing order allows all businesses opened by the governor to operate. That now includes movie theaters, arcades, concert halls, and bars.

Feldman said the existing order specifically says that movie theaters and amusement rides, carnivals, water parks, zoos, arcades, fairs, children’s play centers, playgrounds, theme parks, and other theaters, concert and music halls, are not allowed to open, and that he would not change the guidance to City staff.

In response to our request for clarification, Sexton told us: “Bottom line. These businesses are opened.”

Commissioner David Arreola asked about the definition of a nightclub (nightclubs are not allowed to open). Sexton said it was unclear, but the bottom line seemed to be that this type of business would have to follow the rules for bars, specifically that patrons must be seated with social distancing.

Commissioner Harvey Ward said he looks at the COVID-19 data every day, and “I don’t see it getting better.” He said he’s still worried about reopening: “I hope I’m being a nervous Nellie, but I don’t see good scientific evidence behind this reopening.”

Feldman pointed out that the percentage of positive tests in the county had dropped to 1.7% from the 3% a few weeks ago, with all the increased testing.

After public comment, Poe pointed out that the City does not have its own orders; they follow the County’s orders.

  • (Commissioner Harvey Ward said he looks at the COVID-19 data every day, and “I don’t see it getting better.” He said he’s still worried about reopening: “I hope I’m being a nervous Nellie, but I don’t see good scientific evidence behind this reopening.”)

    Harvey Ward, don’t worry, you are not a nervous Nellie. You are simply a Bad Actor. WHO buys your act?

  • Can the city and county commissioners please grow up and just accept the governors order as written? No, like petulant children they have to have temper tantrums.

    • They remind me of a bunch of 9 year old’s trying to be everyone’s boss!

  • I provided Commissioner Ward with a link to the State Board of Health website showing information for the state and all 67 counties. If he took the time to actually look at the data he would see that percentage of positive test results has been lower for the state and much lower (less than 2% positive results) for the County over that last month. I don’t think he wants to see the actual numbers.

  • Harvey Ward only sees and interprets the statistics the way he wants. He continues to hide behind other “things” to maintain control by instilling fear. Johnson and Simmons continue to do whatever their King Poe tells them to do. Areola is out of touch because his mom pays his bills so he could care less. The new city commissioner is like many others her age, expecting government to give her free stuff. Poe just wants to make everyone “po.”
    Vote the tyrants out.

  • Harvey doesn’t realize that an increase in positive cases with no symptoms is a measure of herd immunity, not a growing list of people who will die of CV-19. Sweden had similar numbers but chose not to lock-down and not to close any businesses. Very few were out of work and today they are back to full normal… Harvey gets is information from MSLSD where the fear mongers promote fear and fake facts.

  • well, one thing for sure: Bank robbers and Antifa should NOT be able to wear
    Masks while committing felonies.

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