The Board of Directors and HOA staff wanted to provide some updates about our community and the surrounding areas so you can make decisions that affect your homes, guests and reservations. The Lagoon Pool is open. The Pool Staff are cleaning the bathrooms every two hours and the chairs are being wiped down throughout the day. The Seacrest Beach Café is open during normal hours of 10:00am – 6:00pm. We have been in touch with the Walton County Health Inspector and, as usual, they are very complimentary about our pool water cleanliness and chemical levels. It is possible the Health Inspector will require us to close down, but currently that is not the case. We will continue to monitor this and will inform you of any changes.
Our Tram Service is operational and tram drivers are cleaning all surfaces as often as possible in between trips to the beach access. Our Beach Ambassadors, La Dolce Vita (LDV) will be putting chair setups 6 feet apart in an effort to provide the appropriate distancing. This means the rows will move back closer to the dunes, but the 50/50 split for personal setups will remain in place.
Regarding other communities along 30-A and businesses in the surrounding area we wanted to provide you with an update on the latest information we have relative to the local situation and the coronavirus. Yesterday the Walton County Board of County Commissioners met to address the COVID-19 situation. During the meeting, they declared a local state of emergency which relaxes the County’s procurement rules, allows for reimbursement from FEMA, and allows the cancellation of non-emergency public meetings. This provides the County with the ability to respond quickly to this rapidly evolving situation. They also cancelled all permits for events that occur before May 1st. In addition, they suspended the meeting of any volunteer committees until May 1st. The beaches are NOT closed. Restaurants are NOT closed. Of course, things could change, so everyone is advised to stay tuned.
As of this morning, Governor Ron DeSantis suspended bars and night clubs in the state beginning at 5:00 PM today and continuing for the next 30 days due to concerns over coronavirus. It is not immediately clear if bars and nightclubs will have to close down completely or if they will be allowed to serve food to patrons. Restaurants are going to be required to screen all employees and those who give a positive response to the trigger questions will not be allowed to work. The governor is also implementing a 50% capacity limitation on restaurants and asks that seating be staggered and limited. The governor asserts that he does not see the state implementing any more restrictive guidelines in the foreseeable future; however, local municipalities may go further depending upon local conditions.
As of 5:00 PM yesterday (Monday the 16th), Seaside closed the public beach access points that are in the commercial district. The neighborhood beach access points remain available for residents to use. These gates are access controlled, so one has to know the unlock code to access the beach. As of this Saturday, March 21st, at 12:00 PM, the commercial district of Seaside will close. After that point in time, the food & beverage merchants will be allowed to remain open for to-go service only, unless otherwise directed by the state or federal government.
Also on Monday, the Rosemary Beach Merchants Association announced that out of an abundance of caution, they are suspending all events through March 31st. This includes the Spring It On Concert Series, Magic in the Air, Kids Theater, Moonlight & Movies and Face Painting, Tie Dye, Wacky Hair and Kids Karaoke. The restaurants will remain open to serve customers, but they are evaluating this on a day to day basis.
The WaterColor Community Association has suspended the Art in the Park, Easter Sunrise Service and Easter Egg Hunt & Toss; however, their amenities are remaining open. Their staff is taking extra precautions and executing increased cleaning and sanitizing of high-traffic areas. They are not requiring that restaurants close nor are they closing their beaches.
The Hub has suspended their schedule of live music, DJ dance parties and family movie night events through March 31st. However, their restaurants and bars will remain open for outside dining in small groups. They will also continue to serve takeout orders. They continue to follow strict sanitary guidelines and are committed to working in concert with state and local authorities.
The local grocery stores have announced new operating hours for the foreseeable future. The Publix grocery stores are open from 7:00 AM until 8:00 PM. Winn-Dixie stores will be open from 7:00 AM until 9:00 PM. Both stores indicate the decision to close early is to allow their staff to appropriately restock the shelves and conduct additional sanitation procedures to ensure a safe shopping experience. Should travelers not want to go to the grocery store, both the Shipt service offers pickup and delivery of groceries for either Publix or Winn-Dixie. In addition, Publix supports the use of Instacart for the delivery of grocery orders.
We are not aware of any private beaches being closed to use by those with deeded access to those beaches. We will have to see how the recent decree from the Governor that people abide by the CDC guidelines of maintaining social distances and congregating in groups of no more than ten impacts beach governance and usage. Aside from the restaurants around the Seaside town center, we are not aware of any restaurant along 30A completely halting operations. Proprietors are reassuring customers that their establishments are undergoing routine, rigorous cleaning processes and, per the Governor’s order, they will have to operate at half capacity and encourage the use of take-out options.
We will update you if we are required to close any of our amenities. We wish you and your family good health under these challenging circumstances. As always if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.