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UPDATE 8 a.m. Wednesday, March 18:

Beginning at 5 p.m. tonight, March 18, the Volusia County Courthouse will be closed to the public.

From Clerk of the Circuit Court Laura Roth:

Courthouses are closed to the public throughout Volusia County except for limited Clerk services and mission-critical judicial proceedings beginning March 18th at 5pm until April 6, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. The Courthouse and Clerk’s office are open for business tomorrow March 18th.

To read the executive order by Chief Judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit of Florida Raul Zambrano, click here.


UPDATE 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 17: Newest info from the governor and county officials:

Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference at 5 p.m., followed closely by the Volusia County Emergency Management. Here’s the important information:

Gov. DeSantis announced all schools statewide testing canceled for the school year — parents can choose to hold their children back a year. Public schools will be closed until at least April 15.

No word yet from Volusia County Schools, but Superintendent Scott Fritz has previously announced plans to move to online learning.

Volusia County Chair Ed Kelley urges every resident to take personal responsibility; will enforce state orders on bars, restaurants.

“If you’ve lived in Florida for more than a year, you’ve experienced a hurricane, or the threat of one,” Kelley said. “We can’t change the path of the storm, but we could change the path of the COVID virus.”

“This crisis involves all of us. We’re relying on you to help us get through this situation,” Volusia County Emergency Management Director Jim Judge said. “Change your daily habits … Don’t shake hands… even the fist bump and the elbow.”

Kelley announced the intention to enforce the governor’s order to close bars, pubs, and nightclubs starting 5 p.m. March 17. A restriction of 50% capacity is imposed on restaurants, along with staggered seating and social distancing of at least six feet.

According to Florida Department of Health Volusia County Administrator Patricia Boswell, there are currently 9 total cases confirmed in Volusia County.

“There is currently no evidence of community spread,” Boswell reported.

Most of the 9 cases, in other words, are traced back to travel.

Boswell urged any resident experiencing respiratory symptoms to contact their primary care provider or see an urgent care clinic. Those practices can conduct testing through private labs, according to Boswell.


UPDATE 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 17: County cancels events, cases rise:

From Pat Kuehn of Volusia County Community Information:

Due to the coronavirus threat, Volusia County Government has canceled the following events:

·       Turtle Day, which was scheduled for March 28 at the Marine Science Center

·       All Marine Science Center programs through April 1. The center remains open to visitors.

·       The March 28 Household Hazardous Waste event in DeBary

·       The April 4 Plant Sale and Vendor Faire at the Volusia County Agricultural Center

·       All Explore Volusia and Lyonia Environmental Center programs through April 1. Lyonia Environmental Center remains open.

·       All DeBary Hall programs through April 1. The site remains open, and tours will continue to be offered.

·       All plant clinics and other programs sponsored by the University of Florida/Volusia County Extension through April 30

·       All library-sponsored programs and community meetings through April 1

The following meetings have been canceled:

·       The March 18 Local Mitigation Strategy meeting

·       The March 18 Code Enforcement Board meeting

·       The March 18 Development Review Committee meeting

·       The March 19 meeting of the Planning and Land Development Regulation Commission

·       The March 18 West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority board meeting

·       The March 20 Library Advisory Board meeting

·       The March 24 Historic Preservation Board meeting

·       The March 25 Volusia Growth Management Commission meeting

·       The March 27 meeting of the Cultural Council

Volusia County Water Utility is suspending service disconnections for nonpayment and will not charge late fees until further notice. The Volusia County Division of Corrections has suspended all onsite visitation at the Volusia County Branch Jail and Correctional Facility until further notice. This includes all professional visitors, including attorneys. Friends and family will still be able to visit using the remote off-site option. The remote off-site video visitation fee will be waived once a day per visitor. The division is implementing these measures as a precaution and has no known or suspected cases of COVID-19 at this time.


UPDATE 12 p.m. Tuesday, March 17: City declares state of emergency, cancels/postpones events

From Chris Graham, community-information specialist for the City of DeLand:

DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar on Monday declared a state of emergency as the city takes preventative measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the community.

“COVID-19 could potentially be something unlike any of us has ever faced,” said Mayor Apgar. “I urge all of our residents to avoid large crowds and be diligent regarding your personal hygiene. Our collective efforts will help mitigate the spread of the virus within the City of DeLand and Volusia County. As you plan your day’s activities, remember when in doubt, don’t go out.”

Residents are advised to adhere to guidelines set forth by the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Those measures include washing your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds each time; avoid crowds of 10 or more for the next two weeks and staying home from work when you are sick.

The City Commission approved last night a resolution granting  the City Manager the authority  to cancel, if necessary, all city meetings other than City Commission meetings. The City Commission also approved a resolution granting the Mayor the authority  to cancel city commission meetings altogether or delay certain agenda items while the emergency declaration is in effect.

Additionally, the city is taking extra steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • The city is suspending all city event permits until for at least eight weeks. This is in an effort to follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC cancel or postpone all City events or those events on public property  for the next eight weeks.
  • Utility shut-offs will be suspended until at least April 30. We are asking residents to pay what they can in the meantime to avoid having large bills later this year.
  • The city is asking residents who are paying their bills to try to do so online or over the phone to limit potential exposure to the virus.
  • The city is recommending restaurants adhere to CDC and state guidelines to prevent large groups of people from gathering. Several restaurants in our area have adopted to-go ordering options. The city is working on designating to-go order pick up parking spots to assist restaurants in the downtown district. An announcement will be made when those plans are finalized.
  • All youth activities have been suspended.
  • The city’s adult softball league has been suspended.
  • Playgrounds remain open but signs have been posted for people to wash their hands and use at their own risk.
  • All employee-related travel has been suspended.

The following events/meetings have been canceled or postponed.

  • March 23 meeting to discuss the old Volusia County jail site and the pending agreement with Deltran –Postponed
  • Florida Wildflower & Garden Festival – Cancelled
  • DeLand Outdoor Art Festival – Cancelled
  • The DeLand Mayor’s Golf Tournament – Cancelled
  • Parachutes for Patriots – Cancelled
  • Downtown DeLand Classic Car Cruise-In – Cancelled
  • The Majestics Car Show – Cancelled
  • DeLandapalooza – Postponed
  • Firefighter’s Annual Pub Crawl – Postponed
  • Keep DeLand Beautiful Day – Postponed
  • Community Shred Day – Postponed
  • Vivid Life Church Easter Egg Hunt – Cancelled
  • City of DeLand Easter Egg Hunt – Cancelled
  • The Annual DeLand Tree Giveaway – Postponed
  • The Water Festival – Cancelled


UPDATE 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, March 17:

Gov. Ron DeSantis has ordered all bars and nightclubs to close for 30 days beginning at 5 p.m. tonight after four University of Florida students tested positive for the new COVID-19 virus.

The governor also recommends restaurants screen employees for the virus, limit seating to 50% capacity, and that seating be staggered to prevent transmission.

192 people across the state have tested positive for the virus; there are 9 confirmed cases in Volusia County.


UPDATE 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 17:

As election day marches on, here’s a round-up of the latest news regarding the new COVID-19 virus.

Gov. Ron DeSantis urges those who think they may be infected with COVID-19 to call hotline:

If you are experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19 please contact the COVID-19 Hotline: 1(866)779-6121 before visiting your healthcare provider to prevent the spread of this virus.

From the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles:

At the direction of Governor Ron DeSantis, all Florida driver licenses, commercial driver licenses, and ID cards expiring in the next 30 days will be extended an additional 30 days past the expiration date.

Florida Department of Health launches COVID-19 mapping and information dashboard. Click here.

BakeChop restaurant in DeLand offers free toilet paper for to-go orders over $50 — many other restaurants are also open for take out and delivery orders.

Athens Theatre closed until April 23:

The Athens Theatre will go dark until (at least) April 23rd.

We appreciate your patience as we attempt to reach out to all ticket-holders for these events. Our box office is calling each patron affected by these changes, but as you can imagine, this is taking some considerable time.

Markets closed:

Lake Helen Market in the Park is closed until April.

DeLand Artisan Alley Farmers Market closed — orders are available for pick-up. For more information, contact https://www.facebook.com/DeLandFarmersMarket/

Wednesday Farmers Market at the Volusia County fairgrounds in DeLand closed until April.

City of DeLand holding blood drive at City Hall:

From the City of DeLand: Concerns over COVID-19 have had a negative impact on the blood supply. But the need still exists. If you have some free time, stop by City Hall and give some blood.

As an added incentive, OneBlood is giving out $20 e-gift cards to donors, a water bottle and free wellness checkup. The OneBlood bus will be outside City until 5 p.m. today.

Message from Dr. Scott Fritz of Volusia County Schools:

All field trips of any type are suspended until further notice.

VCS is offering free lunches for all students the week of March 23 through March 27 at multiple locations across the district.

You can find this list and updates on our VCS website at: https://www.vcsedu.org/news/coronavirus-information

Students and staff returning from international or cruise travel will be expected to self-isolate as indicated earlier. Every effort will be made to accommodate remote learning in such cases.

Preparations are in place for digital and remote learning for all schools if needed.


UPDATE 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, March 17:

According to the latest figures from the Florida Department of Health, there are now 142 cases involving Florida residents, along with 18 involving non-Florida residents diagnosed in Florida. Volusia County has seven cases, five of which are said to be travel-related.


UPDATE 3:15 p.m. Monday, March 16: Volusia County officials are limiting attendance at tomorrow’s Volusia County Council meeting to 50, per a news release: 

County Council to meet March 17 with attendance limit; meeting will be livestreamed

The Volusia County Council will hold its regular meeting at 10 a.m.Tuesday, March 17, in the Thomas C. Kelly Administration Center, 123 W. Indiana Ave., DeLand. Public participation will begin at 9:30 a.m.

Due to public safety concerns regarding the coronavirus, anyone exhibiting signs of illness (such as fever, cough and shortness of breath) should not attend the meeting; they should self-isolate at home.

The public can view the meeting via livestream at https://livestream.com/volusiacountygovernment/live.

The meeting’s attendance will be limited to 50 people.

— Pat Kuehn, Volusia County Community Information


UPDATE 2:45 p.m. Monday, March 16: As of 2 p.m. Monday, there were six confirmed cases of coronavirus in Volusia County, and some 155 in Florida as a whole, including six Floridians diagnosed and isolated out of the state.

The Florida Department of Health has released an interactive map of cases involving Florida residents, available here. The agency’s complete tally of cases is available here.


UPDATE 12:00 p.m. Monday, March 16: Volusia County Schools will offer free meals for students during the week of March 23-27. Below is the full list of West Volusia pick-up sites and information from officials.

Volusia County Schools (VCS) will be providing FREE Breakfast and Lunch meals for its students (18 years old and younger) during the extended school closure period from March 23 through March 27, 2020. Meals will be available for pick-up between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in the parent loop of each school site listed below. District staff will distribute the meals directly to those in their vehicles (drive-thru service) upon arrival. In addition, district staff will hand-out meals directly to any walkers and/or bike riders that may lack motor-vehicle transportation. There will not be any public access to the school buildings during this time period. 

{{tncms-inline content=”&lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Pierson/Deleon Springs area schools:&lt;/strong&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;Taylor Middle/High School – 100 East Washington Avenue, Pierson, FL 32180&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;McInnis Elementary School – 5175 US Highway 17, DeLeon Springs, FL 32130&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;DeLand area:&lt;/strong&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;Citrus Grove Elementary School – 729 Hazen Road, DeLand, Fl 32720&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;DeLand High School – 800 North Hill Avenue, DeLand, FL 32724&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;Starke Elementary School – 730 South Parsons Avenue, DeLand, FL 32720&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;Southwestern Middle School – 605 West New Hampshire Avenue, DeLand, FL 32720&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;Freedom Elementary School – 1395 S. Blue Lake Avenue, DeLand, FL 32724&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;Volusia Pines Elementary School – 500 Kicklighter Road, Lake Helen, FL 32744&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Orange City area Schools:&lt;/strong&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;Orange City Elementary School – 555 East University Avenue, Orange City, FL 32763&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;River Springs Middle School – 900 W. Ohio Avenue, Orange City, FL 32763&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Deltona area schools:&lt;/strong&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;Galaxy Middle School – 2400 Eustace Avenue, Deltona, FL 32725&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;Spirit Elementary School- 1500 Meadowlark Drive, Deltona, FL 32725&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;Pride Elementary School – 1100 Learning Lane, Deltona, FL 32738&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;Deltona Middle School – 250 Enterprise Road, Deltona, FL 32725&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;Osteen Elementary School – 500 Doyle Road, Osteen, FL 32764&lt;/p&gt;” id=”419f1e80-9573-4849-b8ed-8546f1f64f65″ style-type=”info” title=”List of schools” type=”relcontent”}}

Based on recommendations from our Federal and State leaders, we are asking all meals to be taken home to eat.


UPDATE 11:00 a.m. Monday, March 16: From the city of DeLand- 

The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia has opened a drive-through emergency food pantry. The drive-through pantry is operational from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday at The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia, 434 S. Woodland Blvd., DeLand. It will remain operational until further notice.

Further, as it is anticipated that the need will be great, donations of non-perishable food items via the drive-through also are greatly appreciated.

LOCAL RESOURCES: 

Volusia County: Volusia.org/coronavirus

Local closures and cancellations (click-through link) 

Volusia County Schools: https://www.vcsedu.org/news/coronavirus-information

Florida Department of Health: www.FloridaHealth.gov/COVID-19

CDC: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

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