Three Things To Know Now

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Once again, the Greater Gainesville Chamber is a source of useful information. The following is from its June 3, 2020 e-newsletter.

PHASE II: Governor Ron DeSantis Today signed an Executive Order transitioning 64 of Florida’s 67 counties to Phase II of the Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step plan for Reopening Florida effective this Friday. Highlights below:

  • The new order encourages all people to avoid congregating in crowds of more than 50 people.
  • Bars are added to the list of establishments that are allowed to operate at 50% of their indoor capacity, excluding staff. Outdoor seating is allowed with six-foot social distancing in the same way it currently is allowed at restaurants.
  • Bar seating will be allowed at bars, restaurants and other establishments licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises. The new order does not apply to night clubs.
  • Any person who works in a long-term care facility should be routinely tested for COVID-19.
  • Non-essential entertainment businesses, such as movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, arcades and more may operate at 50% of their building capacity with appropriate social distancing and sanitation
  • Personal services, including tattooing, body piercing, acupuncture, tanning and massage may operate with appropriate safety guidelines as outlined by the Department of Health.
  • Pari-mutuel betting facilities may seek to operate by submitting a written request to the County.

Except where expressly preempted, the County has the ability to enact stricter provisions if it elects to. We will keep you updated on future developments.
But there is more. (Not from the Greater Gainesville Chamber, by the way.) On June 1, Governor DeSantis extended the temporary mortgage foreclosure and eviction moratorium until July 1, 2020. To see a copy of the extension order click here

Finally (for the moment), the Atlantic hurricane system is traditionally recognized as beginning on June 1 each year, although this year it has opened early. 1 While Tropical Storm Cristobal appears to be on the western side of the Gulf of Mexico, contacting the eastern shore of Mexico, it still should be monitored for changes in direction, category, and risk. To do that click here

Hopefully no damage comes to any one from Cristobal, but it does remind Florida’s individuals, families, and businesses to take the preparatory measures previously described. 2 And here they are again

Individuals and families

  • Walk around homes, property, and apartments to identify (and repair) areas which could cause roof/ceiling/ basement leaks, window breaks, trees which could fall, and the like. (A small personal aside – This writer drops his basketball stand and brings his street hockey net [yes, even in Florida] inside.)
  • Move vehicles to areas not prone to wind-borne objects.
  • Elevate important memorabilia above-ground and in water-deterrent areas.
  • Obtain (or renew) a flood insurance policy. IMPORTANT – Get it now; it takes a period of time for this coverage to become effective.
  • Make insurance policies and other important documents available. In fact, this writer puts his homeowner and flood insurance policies in waterproof bags and stores them above-ground. ‘Ditto’ as to backup computer hard-drives.
  • Photograph ‘and/or’ videotape personal property and collect receipts in case an insurance claim is necessary. (‘Believe me’, this is quite helpful.)
  • Identify ‘escape’ routes and communication plans – Now for the COVID overlay. This situation has become greatly exacerbated by social distancing protocols; it will not be tenable for health purposes to ‘pack’ a large number of people in gymnasiums, civic centers, and other mass gathering areas.
  • Do not forget safekeeping plans for family pets, as well.
  • Gather a supply of preserved food, cooking supplies, medicines and other supplies, and now masks and gloves. And, frankly, tools, shovels, and other similar home repair items.

Businesses (even if temporarily shuttered due to the pandemic)

  • First, do all of the measures listed for individuals and families above. Why not? Those are all common-sense measures which cannot hurt.
  • Create a ‘phone tree’ so all employees, contractors, and vendors can be contacted as-needed. Not only for continuity purposes, but also to maintain positive morale; communication is important to retain motivated personnel.
  • Walk the physical plant, identify weak points (such as machinery and equipment requiring repairs), and actually attend to them. Use a checklist, as identified throughout this series in pieces concerning proactive risk management. Pay particular heed to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (‘aka’ air condition), air quality and environmental health systems, and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems; those are all capital cost items which can be costly to repair or replace.
  • Review insurance policies with the company’s insurance agents and insurance policies. See especially https://www.boginmunns.com/business-stops-in-its-tracks/ and https://www.boginmunns.com/being-prepared-for-the-unexpected/.
  • Preserve (or even temporarily reduce on a strategic basis – presuming that supply chains will remain in-pace for rapid replenishment) stocks of materials, supplies, and inventories.
  • Secure hardcopies ‘and/or’ digital copies of relevant contracts, warranties, operating manuals, financial records, and employee files.
  • Backup digitized records offsite and securely.
  • Review succession plans. This speaks for itself.
  • Walk properties promptly after the storm to inventory damage and make a sustainable insurance claim, if needed.

For information about Bogin, Munns & Munns’ response to Coronavirus readiness.
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Note: Citations are given to the sources to respect the original authors’ copyrights.

1 See  https://www.boginmunns.com/florida-2020-hurricane-season-begins-early/.

2 Ibid.
– For more information, call Philip N. Kabler of the Gainesville, FL office of Bogin, Munns & Munns at 352.332.7688, where he practices in the areas of business, banking, real estate, and equine law. He has taught business and real estate law courses at the University of Florida Warrington College of Business Administration and Levin College of Law and is the President-Elect of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association.

NOTICE: The article above is not intended to serve as legal advice, and you should not rely on it as such. It is offered only as general information. You should consult with a duly licensed attorney regarding your Florida legal matter, as every situation is unique. Please know that merely reading this article, subscribing to this blog, or otherwise contacting Bogin, Munns & Munns does not establish an attorney-client relationship with our firm. Should you seek legal representation from Bogin, Munns & Munns, any such representation must first be agreed to by the firm and confirmed in a written agreement.

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