Local and state officials are making tough decisions about the coronavirus, some that aren’t setting well with business owners.
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is changing lives each and every day in each and every way.
The Florida Department of Health on Wednesday evening released updated numbers about the coronavirus in the state.
The numbers showed there were 328 confirmed cases in Florida, nine in Volusia County, and eight total deaths of Florida residents. The nine in Volusia are two men and seven women with ages ranging from 37 to 89.
Schools, colleges and universities, bars, nightclubs, government buildings and services are being either shut down, closed are altered.
Most sporting events, including professional, collegiate, amateur and prep are shut down and most traveling has come to a halt.
Social distancing is the norm where authorities are encouraging people to have as
little contact with people to stop the spread of the virus.
Bike Week woes
Local authorities are urging residents to follow guidelines set by state and federal state governments as well as health agencies.
The coronavirus shut down the last weekend of Bike Week after Mayor Henry revoked permits for vendors effective 8 a.m. on March 14.
That’s historically the biggest day of the event locally, especially in the Black community along Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard (historically Second Avenue).
A decision by the City of Daytona Beach that led to a shortened Bike Week met with some disapproval.
A meeting of some local entrepreneurs was held at Mt. Zion Church in Daytona Beach on Wednesday night to discuss the matter.
Bike Week event organizers in the Black community are upset about lost revenue for themselves and vendors.
“Those are our biggest days. I feel as if they could have waited. If Disney could shut down on Sunday, why couldn’t we? A lot of vendors were upset and lost money. They had bills to pay too,” said Barbara Turner Hymes, the spokesperson for the Second Avenue Merchants Association.
Patricia Heard owner of Second Avenue Plaza added, “We heard the last minute late Friday night. I called the police chief who confirmed. A lot of vendors struggled to make it here and lost money,” she stated.
“The city should reimburse us for our permits and the vendors their fees. My property had no more than 50 people on it at one time. I drove around on Main Street, in Holly Hill, Port Orange and South Daytona. None of their events were shut down.”
Beaches open, schools closed
This week, other local officials and businesses were making tough decisions to protect residents from contracting the virus.
Here’s how things are shaping up with closures locally.
All beaches in Volusia County are open but some ramps are closed. People are encouraged not to be in groups larger than 10 and social distancing of six feet is encourage.
The Volusia County Schools District has closed schools and canceled all extracurricular activities until April 15.
Bethune-Cookman University and Daytona State College are closed. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is closed and moving its classes online.
All state universities are closed and classes will soon be held online.
Votran bus services are still running and taking extra sanitary measures.
The Volusia County Farmers Market at the Fairgrounds in DeLand is closed until further notice.
‘People are worried’
Residents have expressed concern.
“My main concern is being taken away from my kids and them taken away from me. It’s getting to be a scary situation. People are panicking. It is affecting the economy. People are worried about their jobs,” resident Crystal Austell told the Daytona Times.
“Jobs are sending workers home. People are dipping into their savings. People are also concerned about their 401(k)s. I am definitely concerned about mine.”