Palm Coast - With Gov. Ron DeSantis recently declaring restaurants in the State of Florida may begin to reopen, with a strong focus on core safety principles and limited indoor capacity, the City of Palm Coast is announcing "Welcome Back Palm Coast Initiative," designed to support the business community.
Gov. DeSantis and the State of Florida Re-Opening Task Force have announced Phase I effective Monday, May 4. The first phase primarily deals with restaurants resuming limited operations. While restaurants may open up 25 percent of their indoor seating capacity, Gov. DeSantis made provisions for outdoor seating. Outdoor seating can be accommodated so long as a separation of six feet between tables is provided.
"We want to take a creative approach in allowing our businesses to open safely and successfully," said Mayor Milissa Holland. "We must afford our businesses the opportunity to generate as much revenue as possible while keeping our residents safe. In that light we are announcing the first two strategies of the "Welcome Back Palm Coast Initiative."
"First, in order to support increased social distancing, temporary provisions are being designed to allow restaurants to expand upon their existing outdoor seating areas or add temporary ones," Mayor Holland said. "We want to continue to partner with our local businesses and provide meaningful solutions. The service industry has been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, so we are quickly rallying to help them. These creative adjustments are necessary to support them so they can recover. Now more than ever, we as Palm Coast residents should truly support our local businesses through Be Local, Buy Local."
City officials are working now and through the weekend to be ready to answer questions and assist restaurants with expanding or creating temporary outdoor seating areas beginning the morning of Monday, May 4.
"Second, the City is working on efforts to assist the business community with personal protective equipment (PPE) along with sourcing for cleaning and sanitation materials," Mayor Holland said.
"The City has a lot of expertise in sourcing these types of materials and we want to provide any and all guidance that will help our small businesses meet the new criteria for PPE and requirements for increased cleaning, sanitation and distancing," said Fire Chief Jerry Forte.
A new section of the Virtual City Hall on palmcoastconnect.com will be added under the "Business Resource Center" tab. Here, businesses will be able to find the latest guidance and also find resources for trusted PPE and cleaning materials.
"We will continue to measure and adjust both of these initiatives to meet our business community's needs," said City Manager Matthew Morton. "We are continuously monitoring the data available to us and seeking out new information to better inform these decisions that impact not just our business community, but our community as a whole."
Additionally, the City of Palm Coast is announcing the openings of certain parks and trails, with a strong focus on core safety principles.
The following parks and their respective trails will open starting Monday, May 4. Hours will be reduced to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. All restrooms, playgrounds and pavilions will remain closed.
- Bird of Paradise Nature Preserve
- Central Park in Town Center
- Graham Swamp
- Heroes Memorial Park
- Hidden Lakes Trail
- Long Creek Nature Preserve
- Palm Coast Linear Park/St. Joe Walkway
- Waterfront Park/Intracoastal Waterway Trail
The following recreational amenities and active sports parks to include the basketball, tennis, and pickleball courts remain closed.
- Belle Terre Park
- Community Center Park
- Indian Trails Sports Complex
- James F. Holland Memorial Park
- Ralph Carter Park
- Seminole Woods Neighborhood Park
- Palm Coast Aquatics Center
- Palm Coast Community Center
- Palm Harbor Golf Course
- Palm Coast Tennis Center
- All public restrooms, park pavilions, and playgrounds
Please continue to recognize the following guidelines on our parks and trails:
- Social distancing
- Maintain crowds of less than 10
- Wear cloth masks or face coverings whenever possible
- At-risk individuals should stay home
"I sincerely appreciate our residents' patience and partnership in getting to this point," said Mayor Milissa Holland. "We all play a role in the health of our community and we will all get through these unprecedented times together. I know how much our residents enjoy our amenities and I look forward to seeing them out there."
"During normal times, the Department of Health-Flagler encourages going outdoors, getting fresh air and exercising for our physical and mental health," said Bob Snyder, Administrator for Florida Department of Health-Flagler. "The opening of our beautiful trails for walking, biking and running is welcomed news! The benefits of exercise can be practiced even while practicing social distancing during these challenging times."
"I encourage people to enjoy the beauty of our parks and trails in Palm Coast, to get some exercise and to experience the wonderful spring weather we're having, but please observe all the guidelines that are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19," said Dr. Stephen Bickel, Medical Director for Florida Department of Health-Flagler. "It's very important that we maintain our vigilance-this battle is not over."
We will continue to update you on the latest recommendations from the Department of Health, Emergency Management and the Governor. As always, please continue to follow the latest CDC guidelines at CDC.gov.
The City of Palm Coast will continue to update its Re-Opening Strategy in accordance with recommendations from the CDC and Florida Department of Health, as well as from Governor DeSantis.
Visit Palm Coast Connect at www.palmcoastconnect.com for the latest City of Palm Coast updates.