In the photo above, Town Clerk Gina Inguanzo witnesses a declaration of a state of emergency signed by Town Manager Edward Pidermann on March 12, after the COVID-19 virus was discovered in a patient in Miami-Dade County. Photo: Joseph Sosa, courtesy.
Miami Lakes Town Manager Edward Pidermann declared a state of emergency for the town on March 12 in response to the corona virus.
One person in Miami-Dade County was reportedly stricken with the virus; Pidermann said as far as he knew, no residents of Miami Lakes were sick or were being monitored for symptoms of the new respiratory disease, COVID-19.
Most town events and committee meetings were canceled until April 5.
“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.”
Town hall and public parks are expected to remain open into next month, but large-scale public events and programming and sporting competitions in the parks were canceled effective March 13.
The Mayor’s Basketball Challenge against the City of Doral was postponed until a date to be announced in June.
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. The declaration would allow him to waive some purchasing and budgeting requirements in response to the outbreak, if necessary, he said.
Councilman Luis Collazo said 17 assisted living facilities and three adult daycare centers in town were being monitored and their managers were advised on disinfecting procedures and to limit visitor access 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.
Mayor Manny Cid said the message of the day is “Prevention, prevention, prevention.”
Vice Mayor Nelson Rodriguez reminded residents to watch for children at play, as spring break is approaching the week of March 23 and schools may be closed in the days before and after.
Pidermann said residents should wash their hands, practice social distancing and if ill, stay home from work and public places.
And on a day when shoppers were on long lines that stretched into the parking lots at Costco in Miami Lakes, Pidermann asked people to not hoard paper goods and other products they may need, like hand disinfectant and wipes.
Collazo said buying up such items makes them unavailable for the elderly who are most vulnerable to the virus and are in facilities that need the products.
Also postponed were homeowner association meetings that are normally held in town buildings; meetings for the Economic Development Committee; a town council workshop on stormwater rates; and meetings of the Veterans Committee; Neighborhood Improvement Committee; Public Safety Committee; Sports Hall of Fame Committee; Youth Activity Task Force and the Cultural Affairs Committee.
Town events -- including the April 4 Miami Lakes Spring Fling; a country and western-themed community bike ride that was scheduled for March 14 and a bike rodeo and safety event that same day -- were canceled, town spokeswoman Clarisell De Cardenas said.
The ongoing early voting for the Presidential Primary that was scheduled through March 15 at the Mary Collins Community Center will continue, Town Clerk Gina Inguanzo said.
What’s open and operating:
--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 is scheduled for the weekend of April 4 on Main Street, said he will decide as the date gets closer whether the survivor’s dance party and car show will go on or if he’ll reschedule the popular event for another weekend.
The virus is 10 times more lethal than the annual influenza virus, according to federal officials.
As of March 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 1,215 cases in the United States, with 36 deaths. The virus has appeared in 42 states and the District of Columbia.