Navigating the COVID-19 Nature Coast State of Emergency
What should one do in the Nature Coast State of Emergency?
With nearly every public facility, event, and meeting being closed through the end of March, NatureCoasters’ lives are being disrupted in a BIG way. Still, panicking is not a good option.
Prayer is a good option.
Staying in one’s home can get mundane, so what is a NatureCoaster to do?
There are many outdoor activities in our area that will allow safe space and provide excellent recreational opportunities.
This is a great time to indulge in that kayak trip you have been putting off.
Walk in the State Forest or any one of our wonderful parks. Take a bike ride on the Withlacoochee Trail.
Have you tried walking Brooksville’s new Florida Mermaid Trail?
Ride a horse. Go fishing. Rent a boat and tour the seas.
Go to a u-pick farm. There are several u-pick farms in Florida’s Nature Coast, and this is a great activity with delicious and nutritious benefits. Blueberry season is only a few weeks away. Strawberry season is winding up and several vegetables are in season now. Be sure to call before you venture out for hours and availability.
You have choices that fit the parameters of COVID-19 safety guidelines
You have the opportunity to make this a special time where you might work on gardening projects, paint or draw, read a book, write a poem or a story, or any myriad of hobbyist activities.
Take a minute to inventory what is available in your location and fight the tendency to panic.
Deep cleaning and organizing is always an option.
You are not alone.
Restrictions for Restaurants, Bars & Beaches
On March 17, Saint Patrick’s Day, Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis, sent an Executive Order effectively shutting down sales in bars that receive 50% or more of their revenues from beer, wine and liquor sales for 30 days. BOOM
Restaurants are allowed to stay open now but must institute a safe space policy of 50% of their capacity. This means that every other dining table is open for business if a restaurant chooses to continue serving food providing the six-foot space we need to keep while under our State of Emergency.
Many restaurants are now offering curbside pickup and may have special procedures for that service. For example, Cattle Dog Coffee Roasters began curbside pickup service, but orders must be placed and paid for online. Please call ahead.
Servers are being hit hard. If you choose to eat in a restaurant or get take out food, please tip generously – ridiculously generously. That may be what keeps their lights on.
Beaches are not closed, but visitors must keep a six-foot distance between each party. Parties should be limited to ten.
Gatherings should be less than 50 and outdoors is preferred.
Nature Coast Libraries, Schools, Courthouses, and Public Buildings
All Nature Coast schools were closed in the last week through the end of March (more or less – check your school’s website for specific dates). Children are home and many parents are working from home.
Most public buildings and libraries are closed to the public for indoor activities, like paying bills, renting books and movies and Wi-Fi access. Cultural programs are closed. Movie and live performance theatres are closed. Museums are closed.
Libraries are offering Wi-Fi outdoors, but no public computers. Books can be reserved online and picked up at library locations, but there is no indoor service.
Jury trials are suspended in the courts and all government offices such as tax collectors and driver license bureaus can be managed online. Please do so.
How to Work from Home with your Children there
When I was in my early 30s, I started my entrepreneurial journey with two toddlers (Irish twins) at home. It was truly a challenge to manage work around their schedules, but I learned a lot. I want to share some of that knowledge with those of you who are suddenly thrust into the work from home scenario.
Balance is key. Children do not innately understand why anything is more important than their immediate “needs.” As they get older, they learn to put others first. This means they don’t understand why you are staring at that computer now instead of playing with them. Try to schedule time for both in the workday.
When my children took a nap, I worked. If someone called during the awake hours and I was disrupted, I would say, “Oh, that’s my management team. They’re being cranky.” This would make the client/boss and I laugh. We would reschedule or muddle through depending on the situation. The laughter broke the ice and made things much easier to resolve.
Now is a time to give each other lots of grace – including ourselves and our families.
The Florida Sunshine provides health benefits to our bodies. Our skin absorbs vitamin D from sun exposure. It is good for us.
Here is an interesting article on Coronavirus and the Sun by Dr. Richard Hobday, an internationally recognized authority on health in the built environment.
Fresh air is a proven aid in the healing process. Indoor air is recycled, so germs are recycled too. Apparently fresh air lets the germs go away – maybe through photosynthesis. Maybe through rain and dew. I don’t know why or how. I just know it works.
What about Income?
I believe we will all be affected financially by this crisis. Still, panicking does not help.
I have read news stating that Congress and the President are talking about printing money and sending each of us $1,000 or so. That will surely help, but I don’t recommend waiting for it. If and when it works out, we will know what to do with it.
If it looks like you are going to be short in an area of debt, contact whomever you owe and work out an alternate payment plan. This is a temporary situation. Maybe you can skip this month’s payment, and have it added to the end of the loan? No-one wants to make it worse. Being proactive in this area can save you sleepless nights and credit score drops.
What Can a NatureCoaster Do?
If you are able to help someone out, please do so. Share a roll of toilet paper or two. Call those who are stuck in facilities and cannot have visitors. Mail letters and cards. Donate blood. There is a real shortage right now. Can you volunteer remotely? Nonprofits are sending NatureCoaster updates saying they are planning to continue offering services, but they may be implemented differently. If you can donate time, money or resources to a nonprofit, now is a great time to do so.
What to Do in the Nature Coast State of Emergency
Residents of Citrus, Hernando and Pasco Counties are blessed with many outdoor activity resources. Our park systems are large and, although events and gatherings are canceled, the parks, forests, rivers, lakes, and Gulf are still open and ready for you to enjoy.
Get outside, while minding your Ps&Qs to thoroughly wash your hands, stay 6 feet from others, and pray for each and every human in this world – may we become better people in a better society through the challenges we rise up to today.
There many outdoor activities in Florida’s Nature Coast that allow safe space and provide excellent recreational opportunities.
This could be a great time to indulge in that kayak trip you have been putting off.
Walk in the State Forest or any one of our wonderful parks and botanical gardens.
Ride a horse. Go fishing. Rent a pontoon boat and enjoy the gulf breeze.
Go to a u-pick farm. Blueberry season is only a few weeks away. Strawberry season is winding up and several vegetables are in season now.
We welcome a new NatureCoaster this week with The Dolan House in Brooksville. Perhaps a stay-cation with Debra and Roger King providing a respite from your home would be in order? They make one heckuva breakfast – and pastries!
If you have small businesses that you patronize regularly perhaps it would be nice to check on them. Shops are still open for business in most cases, as are many restaurants with take-out and limited hours. Florida’s Nature Coast is woven with the fabric of small businesses and we all need each other to make it through the tough times.
Take a minute to inventory what is available in your location and fight the tendency to panic. You are not alone.
Let us know how we can help you. We are going to feature some local images in the next few weeks as part of our ezine for inspiration.
Useful Links courtesy of the Greater Hernando Chamber of Commerce:
Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 – Click Here
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – Regional offices closed – Click Here
Families First Coronovirus Response Act – Tax-Related Provisions – Click Here
Hernando County – Upcoming BOCC Meeting – Click Here
– Virtual Support Groups – Click