The Leon County Commission voted unanimously to direct the County Administrator to implement Phase 3 of the Leon County COVID-19 Response and Re-opening Plan and to schedule the first and only public hearing to consider the repeal of the mask mandate ordinance on June 8.
During the discussion, Leon County Commissioner Kristen Dozier voiced concerns about the recent increase of the COVID positivity rate.
Under a full Phase 3 opening all County services and facilities would return to normal operations and capacity, as follows:
- The County would recommend, rather than require, citizens continue wearing face coverings and practicing physical distancing when inside County facilities as recommended by the CDC and would produce signs to advise citizens of these recommended actions.
- Commission meetings would return to unrestricted in-person participation; accommodations would continue to be made for citizens wishing to participate remotely or to provide written comment until such time as the CDC no longer recommends indoor mitigative measures.
- Temperature screening devices would still be present at the Courthouse; however, citizens would be advised, rather than required, to check their temperature before entering the building. As judicial branch functions are not subject to the Governor’s Executive Orders, the chief judge may continue to implement mitigative measures for court-related functions.
- County Libraries would re-open at full capacity.
- All County passive and active recreation facilities would fully re-open, including reservations for community centers and pavilions. Cross-country event organizers and sports leagues would be encouraged to continue implementing their safety plans.
- With respect to the County’s sponsorship of outdoor events, as previously discussed, the Board approved resuming outdoor and virtual FY 2021 Tourism event grants with a requirement that event organizers submit and enforce mitigation plans as a condition of County funding. In light of the Executive Orders, it is recommended that the County continue its sponsorship of these events with a recommendation to event operators that they continue to enforce their safety plans.
- In Phase 3, the County would resume its sponsorship of indoor visitor-generating events, similarly encouraging event organizers and attendees to follow CDC guidance. As presented to the Board at the January 26, 2021 meeting, the County’s FY 2021 event grant application cycle was intentionally delayed in order to gather additional revenue forecasts and to align grant guidelines with the County’s Plan. After careful consideration, the County proceeded with the FY 2021 event grants application cycle in anticipation of better future conditions that would allow these events to occur. The decision to initiate the application cycle was designed to position the community to host events by the start of Phase 3 rather than wait until Phase 3 to initiate the grant cycle. FY 2021 event grant applications have previously been reviewed and ranked by the Tourist Development Council, and funding is available to support these events.
- Under Phase 3 of the County’s re-opening plan, County-organized concerts and events would resume. As indicated above, the County would continue to encourage attendees’ compliance with the latest public health guidance from the CDC. The next Leon County-sponsored concert at the Capital Cascades Amphitheater is J.J. Grey & Mofro, scheduled for September 10, 2021.