The Flagler Chamber is working in coordination with the Health Department and Emergency Operations Center.
With the threat of COVID-19 — also known as the coronavirus — looming, officials from the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce are working with the Flagler County Department of Health and the Flagler County Emergency Operations Center to inform the county’s businesses owners and patrons.
The Flagler Chambers’ new president, Aimee Stafford, met with Emergency Management Chief Jonathan Lord and DOH Administrator Bob Snyder the afternoon of Tuesday, March 10, to coordinate a plan.
Stafford has expressed concern because businesses owners have been canceling meetings and events.
“It’s not yet time for us to pull back that aggressively,” she said. “I’m really hoping that folks don’t stop patronizing businesses until we get timely information from the department of health. We’re just not there yet.”
On Saturday, March 7, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis directed the Florida Division of Emergency Management to activate to Level II to coordinate the state’s response to COVID-19 and provide support to the Florida Department of Health and county health departments.
There are no confirmed cases in the county, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be one eventually, warned Stafford.
“I want to make sure that we’re plugged in and getting information out to the public,” she said.
In conjunction with the DOH and EOC, Stafford said the Flagler Chamber is planning to host two forums targeting the hospitality industry, where they would talk about how the community is organizing and to provide them with industry-specific information. There will also be two general business information sessions, too.
In addition, the Flagler Chamber is working on developing posters for local businesses to post so patrons can see what measures each business is taking to stay safe.
“When people walk into a business, we want them to feel confident that we’re all making the effort to make sure our community is safe,” Stafford said.
The Flagler Chamber currently has a sign posted at its entrance that reads “This is a handshake-free zone.” However, Stafford said there are other things businesses can do to mitigate risk. For example: talking to employees about cleanliness, encouraging employees not to come into work when they’re sick and more.
“Overall, I would just encourage people to not be afraid to frequent local businesses,” Stafford said. “It could have an economic impact that is detrimental to our community.”