At today’s Leon County Board of County Commissioners meeting, the commissioners received a status report on the use of County parks and locally-sponsored community and athletic events amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The report included conditions in Leon County and ways to mitigate the further spread of the virus while making use of public resources.
Due to the coronavirus, a majority of the Division of Tourism’s grant funds for the 2021 Fiscal Year have not yet been awarded, as Leon County remains in Phase 2 of its reopening plan. The Board has the power to adjust reopening policies and allow for grant funding to resume, despite Leon County not being officially under Phase 3.
Options for modifying the re-opening plans include the authorization of funding for all outdoor and indoor events, authorizing disbursement of funds for only outdoor events (or those with less than 1000 attendees in the grant application) or the authorization of funding for limited indoor events that are linked to local or state governments as well as “institutions of higher learning.”
The COVID-19 pandemic was described in the report as “the longest and most extensive emergency activation in the history of our community.” In September, the Board approved a decision to allow for organized cross-country activities to occur (with strict protocols in place) despite still being in Phase 2 of the reopening plan. The use of County facilities for other organized youth sports, including little league and cheerleading, was not approved.
The report also mentioned the enthusiasm from “much of the public whom are less vulnerable to adverse health risks associated with COVID-19” to return to their previous daily activities. Small social gatherings, fitness routines, cultural and community events and athletics were all cited as examples of “normalcy” desired by members of the public and as support for adjusting the reopening plan.
The commissioners directed staff to bring back another report on Jan. 26, 2021.