Pidermann declares state of emergency in Miami Lakes in response to COVID-19 virus
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Most town events, classes and committee meetings are canceled at least through April 5, in an effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus in crowds.
Miami Lakes Town Manager Edward Pidermann declared a state of emergency on March 12 and ordered the shutdown of activities, including homeowner association meetings and team sports competitions in town parks.
The next day,
President Donald Trump issued a national state of emergency, and Miami-Dade County schools and the Archdiocese of Miami announced school closings until further notice.
Pidermann said on March 12 that as far as he knew, no residents of Miami Lakes were sick or were being monitored for symptoms of coronavirus, though patients had been identified elsewhere in the county. They included Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.
“The town of Miami Lakes is open for business,”
Pidermann said during a press conference at town hall, though he added, “…All indications are that we have yet to see the worst of this outbreak.”
Vice Mayor Nelson Rodriguez reminded residents to watch out for children who will be out of school and playing in their neighborhoods.
Meanwhile, some Miami Lakers prepared as though a Category 5 hurricane was approaching, filling their gas tanks with fuel and their shopping carts with supplies.
Lines of shoppers snaked through the parking lot of the Costco warehouse store in Miami Lakes on March 12 and 13.
One woman could be seen pushing a cart full of bleach, toilet paper and water.
Shopper Pedro Garcia of Miami Lakes said he bought toilet paper because, “I need it for me and my daughter. My daughter is handicapped.”
Iliana Rodriguez Rosabal also lives in town and said she was shopping at Costco because she ran out of toilet paper and only had three rolls of paper towels.
“I’ve bought some condensed milk and some canned goods,” Rodriguez Rosabal said. “Usually I always carry hand sanitizer and constantly clean my house, so none of this is new for me. I think people are over exaggerating and buying too much.”
Pidermann said he thought panic buying would ease after several days. He asked people to not hoard paper goods and other products such as disinfectants and wipes.
Councilman Luis Collazo said depleting stores’ supplies of such items made them unavailable for the elderly who are most vulnerable to the virus and are in facilities that need those products.
Collazo said town staff was monitoring 17 assisted living facilities and three adult daycare centers in town and their managers were advised on disinfecting procedures and told to limit visitors to their buildings and patients.
And that goes for the municipal headquarters, too.
“Please avoid visiting town hall if you are sick or are experiencing any flu-like symptoms,” Pidermann said.
Town hall and public parks are expected to remain open into next month.
Pidermann said at the end of March, he’ll review whether the emergency will stay in place through April 5th or if it could be canceled or should be extended.
Mayor Manny Cid said the message of the day was “Prevention, prevention, prevention.”
Pidermann said residents should wash their hands, practice social distancing and if ill, stay home from work and public places.
Also postponed were homeowner association meetings that are normally held in town buildings.
The following municipal meetings were canceled:
Veterans Committee on March 18; Neighborhood Improvement Committee on March 19; Mayor’s office hours on March 21; a Special Master Hearing on March 23; the Public Safety Committee on March 24; Sports Hall of Fame Committee meeting on March 31; the Youth Activity Task Force meeting on April 1 and the Cultural Affairs Committee that was to meet April 2.
The Mayor’s Basketball Challenge against the city of Doral was postponed until a date to be announced in June.
Town events -- including the Miami Lakes Spring Fling scheduled to be held in Picnic Park West on April 4 and the Farmer’s Market and Yoga, also in that park on Saturdays, were canceled, too.
The town website, www.miamilakes-fl.gov, has updates on canceled events.
What’s open and
--Town hall, but residents and contractors are asked to resolve their issues by email or phone before coming to the municipal building.
--Freebee on-demand ride service. Drivers will stock disinfectant and clean their vehicles. If they call in sick, they will require a doctor’s note to get back behind the wheel, Pidermann said.
Robert Alonso, organizer of The Miami Lakes Cars for a Cure cancer charity event that was scheduled for the weekend of April 4 on Main Street, said he has postponed the survivor’s dance party and car show.
Alonso said he hopes to
reschedule the popular event for another weekend later this year.
The virus is 10 times more lethal than the influenza virus, according to federal officials.
For more information about COVID-19 go to www.cdc.gov.
Reporter Megan Jacobo contributed to this report.