State of Emergency Declared and CDC Recommendations on Gatherings and Social Distancing

County Commission Chair Robert Hutchinson has declared a local “State of Emergency” in Alachua County This will give County government a greater ability to react as needed to the COVID-19 events.



The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now urging a nationwide halt to gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, citing the risk of the coronavirus. If followed, the guidance — the strongest and most sweeping to date from the agency — will significantly increase the pandemic’s disruption to U.S. public life for the next two months. 

In addition, the CDC recommends “social distancing” measures.

What is social distancing?

While it may be disappointing to hear that so many sports events, cruises, festivals, and other gatherings are being canceled, there is a public health reason for these measures. These cancellations help stop or slow down the spread of disease allowing the health care system to more readily care for patients over time.

Canceling events that are likely to draw crowds is an example of social distancing. Social distancing is deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. Staying at least six feet away from other people lessens your chances of catching COVID-19.

Other examples of social distancing that allow you to avoid larger crowds or crowded spaces are:

Working from home instead of at the office
Closing schools or switching to online classes
Visiting loved ones by electronic devices instead of in-person
Canceling or postponing conferences and large meetings

For more information on mass gatherings, visit the CDC Mass Gatherings COVID-19 website

For current Coronavirus (COVID-19) information, visit the Alachua County Coronavirus website, the Alachua County Facebook page, call the Coronavirus Information Line at 866-779-6121, visit the Florida Department of Health website, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For more information, contact Alachua County Communications Director Mark Sexton at 352-264-6979 or msexton@alachuacounty.us.

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