It’s been a week of drama, tension and just in time, some political humor. Not to make light of anything about the COVID-19 situation, it’s deadly serious stuff, but keeping a sense of humor is an excellent coping mechanism.
We’re sure the Lee County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) were not trying to entertain those of us watching their hastily called Emergency Meeting on Wednesday, right after Governor DeSantis issued an Executive Order shutting down the state with a Stay at Home order that nearly everyone but the BoCC had been begging him to do for over a week.
The BoCC had previously held two emergency meetings in which nothing was done. Not counting their resolution affirming the Florida Surgeon General’s guidelines as they weren’t news to anyone, just an opportunity for the BoCC to claim they did something.
Meanwhile the governor said as recently as Tuesday, that he was following the President’s lead, avoiding doing anything that could later be pinned on him as being anti-business. So, he kept up his mantra about how Florida is a very diverse state and some counties have no virus so a statewide stay at home order would harm them.
On Wednesday, DeSantis finally issued a stay-at-home order. It might have been seeing the state numbers of COVID-19 cases jump by over a thousand in one day or seeing several of those “no cases” counties report cases. He says it was the President extending his social distancing guidelines until April 30.
Within hours, the Lee Commissioners rushed into their own Wednesday meeting for an, “Attaboy, Governor!” One even tried to take credit for having asked the governor to issue the order, leading many viewers to react with a stunned, “What?”
As small business owners currently with zero income, we are sympathetic to the economic concerns that this slow-motion shutdown has brought. But there’s no question that the health and safety of people should always come before any concern about Wall Street or Main Street’s future.
Readers, please remember this come election time. Remember who had your health and safety as Priority One, and who had their re-election as Priority One. They’ll have slick explanations of how they were protecting the economy, but it comes down to this: our county commissioners sat through not one, but two urgent requests to shut down the county from the leading medical experts in the county. And pleas from a majority of the county’s municipalities. And they ignored them all, twice. Not a single commissioner offered a motion to issue a stay at home order. None of them deserve to represent the good people of Lee County after this performance.
Fort Myers Beach Leads
Who did have our health and safety as Priority One? Our small town leaders. Fort Myers Beach, population 7,000.
When the Governor and Lee County failed us, the Fort Myers Beach Town Council stepped up early and repeatedly to enact regulations aimed at protecting our Island’s residents. Led by a mayor literally in her last days in office, and supported by all four council members, including two that were also in their last days in office. Who would have blamed them had they skipped the meetings? But they didn’t. They debated the issues and made some really hard decisions. They made plenty of people mad, really mad. Our sandy beach had never been closed before and that was not taken very well. But not everyone stayed mad. I’ll paraphrase one conversation with someone who contacted us about the beach closure. They said they now realized that people were losing their jobs and their livelihoods, all they lost was the beach, temporarily.
Access to our beach will be back. Let’s make sure that all of us are here to enjoy it by staying home and staying away from everyone else. Forget what you hear about gatherings of no more than 10 people, Stay away from everyone but those living in your house.
Be careful out there!
Missy and Bob Layfield