How do I know if my business can stay open?
Questions continue to come in regarding what does & does not qualify as an “essential business.” Please read the order in its entirety. The order outlines who is impacted. If after reading the language you still need clarity, submit the following form:https://tinyurl.com/t3vsqlk
I'm concerned about feeding my family, what should I do?
I'm worried I wont be able to pay my utility bill, what should I do?
GRU has suspended disconnects for nonpayment until further notice, but late fees still apply. We encourage all customers to stay on schedule, if possible, to avoid accumulating a past-due balance. GRU is lowering its Electric Fuel Adjustment and Purchased Gas Adjustment beginning April 1. With this reduction, GRU’s Electric Fuel Adjustment is the lowest it’s been since 2004. The new adjustments will have the following impacts on residential bills:
- Residential electric customers using 1,000 kWh per month will see a $3.00 reduction.
- Natural gas customers using 25 therms per month will see a $0.75 reduction.
GRU evaluates fuel prices on a month-by-month basis to determine if and when adjustments must be made.
Is virtual schooling an option while out of school?
With the teachers not working will they have a suspension in pay?
All ACPS employees are continuing to be paid.
What about school and final grades?
Grades will be awarded for Alachua County Public School (ACPS) students who continue to be enrolled/served by ACPS. The district has been in communication with the Department of Education around graduation requirements for High School seniors. Alachua County Public Schools will be working with all students to try to maintain continuity.
Will school be closed past April 16?
Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, Alachua County School District administrators are not yet able to determine how long the break will continue.
Why is the downtown at such a risk that it needs to be closed down, but not the depot park?
The parks that remain open have trails or large open green spaces that do not encourage group gatherings or activities, and provide space for people to be outdoors while maintaining social distance. The playground, splash pad, and pavilions of Depot Park are closed. The only parts of Depot Park that remain open are the trails and highly open spaces. We are monitoring the parks that are open. If they become too congested, they will be re-evaluated.
If this goes on a long period of time would a renter be forced out of their home for not paying rent?
This is a rapidly evolving situation and while there is no
specific plan in place for ceasing evictions of renters during the pandemic.
However, courts in Alachua County have currently suspended processing civil
cases and evictions are a civil case.
If you are unsure about your ability to pay your rent, we
recommend speaking with your landlord directly.
Certain members of Congress have advocated for a freeze of evictions
for renters and homeowners. With regard to homeowners, the Federal Housing
Finance Agency has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend all
foreclosures and evictions for the next 60 days. Other mortgage lenders are
expected to do the same.
Will community gardens remain open?
Stand-alone gardens are open. The reserve park garden and green acres park garden will not be available because they are within a park that is closed.
The city has portable office trailers for projects. Could we use those for portable testing?
The city has various facilities and options that we are exploring for possible testing working closely with the Department of Health who would operate any testing lab, mobile or otherwise.
Will testing be limited to those with medical insurance?
The federal government has allocated funding so that anyone with a suspected case of COVID19 can be tested for free.
What is in the works to offer businesses and people on fixed income relief?
Right now we are laser focused on prevention and mitigation of disease and keeping people alive. We are certainly mindful of the tremendous financial burden being faced by our community and those across the nation.
Business owners can apply for a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program and learn more about the program at the Small Business Administration’s website.
For GRU, are they going to be sending someone around to read meters, or will be bills average of last year?
Our meter readers are still working because they are not required to enter homes or businesses. We have paused all non-critical services that require our employees to enter a home or business.
What are the city’s contingency plans for GRU workers, when huge percent of workforce can’t report for duty?
GRU is staggering schedules, splitting shifts and allowing employees to work remotely, when appropriate. We also have prepared for certain critical employees, such as plant operators, to temporarily reside at facilities, so they can avoid infection.
Am I allowed to leave my home to go on walks?
Yes. Citizens are allowed to leave their homes to go on walks around their neighborhoods, walk their dogs or play in their yards.
However, we recommend that they avoid congregating with groups of people while outside.
What should I do if I see an essential business not following the guidelines?
How many tests are available and how is the Alachua County Public Health Department prioritizing who receives tests?
The ACHD has sufficient testing supplies for those who meet current DOH testing criteria:
- Persons who had close contact with a lab confirmed case of COVID-19
- Persons hospitalized w/acute lower respiratory illness of unknown origin
- History of travel to or from an affected geographic area
- History of international travel or a cruise
- 65 or older w/ chronic health conditions
- Immunocompromised persons
Private providers have discretion to expand on these testing criteria.
Will there be at-home testing available for vulnerable individuals?
For questions about testing, please contact the Alachua County Health Department at 1-(866) 779-6121.
How accurate is the current test for individuals who are not showing symptoms?
It is our understanding that the test is not indicated for asymptomatic individuals. It is not a screening test.
How are we ensuring that individuals who have tested positive for COVID19 are quarantined?
The ACHD is monitoring isolated individuals.
What is being done to determine how much of the virus is spread by community?
Testing data and investigations informs our understanding of this disease in our community.
Is there any testing being done for patients who have already had COVID19 to determine how long they remain contagious?
This research is ongoing. A person should be quarantined for 14 days after exposure to a confirmed case. All persons who are experiencing symptoms of a respiratory illness should self-isolate and not leave home until after these 3 things have happened:
- You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers)
- other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
- at least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
Are our hospitals prepared with enough masks, respirators, staff and hospital beds?
Yes. The Alachua County Health Department has been supporting our local hospitals, private providers, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and long term care facilities with these assets.
Do we need to have precaution of purchasing food from grocery stores? Can the virus be on any packaging?
Currently, there is no evidence that purchasing food and handling associated packaging poses a significant risk. Individuals should avoid touching their face in public and use proper hand washing after public exposure.
In Gainesville we have a bat house where the bats come out at sunset and people come to watch. If the bat was the initial host, isn't that dangerous?
Bats should never be handled as they carry dangerous diseases such as rabies. Watching bats at sunset is not considered dangerous.
Is anyone working on antibodies for this virus?
Research on all aspects of this disease is currently occurring. We recommend checking www.CDC.gov/ for the latest information.
I am having trouble filing for Unemployment, what should I do?
The State of Florida is currently experiencing a large volume of unemployment requests but they are working through them as fast as possible. If you need immediate assistance, please use the Request Assitance form on the Community Portal to contact Community Support Services about your specific needs.
Would I be able to talk to someone?
Yes! We're available to answer your questions seven days a week by chat, email, text; and by phone on weekdays. Here's how to get in touch:
Call 352-334-0165 Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Visit www.aclib.us/askus to chat with us. We're available by chat, text, and email Monday-Thursday 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 12-5 p.m.
Are the libraries open?
All locations will be closed through Sunday, April 12. Currently, branches are scheduled to reopen on Monday, April 13. All library programs are suspended through April 30.
Are classes and programs still happening?
No, the Alachua County Library District has suspended programs and outreach events through April 30, 2020, in the interest of public safety.
What if my card is expiring?
If your card is expiring during the closure, your expiration date will be extended until the library is open.
What if I had a book ready to pick up but I wasn't able to pick it up?
All of our holds available for pickup have been extended. So if you had an item ready for pick up on Saturday, March 14, it will still be awaiting for you when we reopen.
Are you going to have more eBooks?
We are purchasing additional copies of popular electronic titles as we are able to according to publisher restrictions.
What if my books are due?
Patrons with materials currently checked out will be able to keep those materials until the library is open, regardless of the items’ original due dates. The Alachua County Library District does not charge overdue fees. Please do not put any items in the book drops.
What if my card is blocked?
If your card is blocked because of overdue items, you will be allowed to check out eBooks and eAudiobooks.
I don't have a card, can I still download ebooks?
Yes! We're excited to temporarily offer access to ebooks via OverDrive to Alachua County residents. Visit www.aclib.us/OverDrive to register with your mobile phone number. This access will last through June 30.
Is the Friends of the Library Spring Book Sale still on for April?
The Friends of the Library Spring Book Sale has been postponed. A new date has not been set. Please visit www.folacld.org for more details. The Bookhouse is closed and not accepting donations at this time.