All Parks Closed During Special-Called City Commission Meeting
Following Governor Desantis' Executive Order
LAKELAND, FL (April 1, 2020) | During a Special-Called City Commission Meeting that took place today, the Lakeland City Commission voted 6-1 to close all parks following the release of the Governor’s Executive Order. Governor DeSantis issued a statewide safer-at-home order this afternoon as federal and local pressure mounted for him to abandon the county-by-county approach he had been implementing.
All leading health care organizations including the United States Coronavirus Task Force continue to push social distancing as the best way to curb the impacts of COVID-19 and help reduce the spread of the virus. DeSantis told reporters that he is issuing the order after consulting with President Donald Trump and White House advisers, who have said that Americans need to stay home throughout April. DeSantis’ move came hours after the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, said on NBC’s “Today” show that he would tell DeSantis that the federal guidelines for social distancing should be viewed as “a national stay-at-home order.
The Lakeland City Commission conducted a virtual meeting with the Commission participating remotely. During the meeting, participants were encouraged to call in and share their opinion. After much debate and discussion, it was decided to close all parks including walking trails in order to minimize the impacts of the coronavirus and to follow the Governor’s Executive Order. The measure passed 6-1 with Commissioner Stephanie Madden as the dissenting vote. Closures will include the very popular Lake Hollingsworth Trail, Lake Mirror, Lake Morton, Munn Park, tennis courts and Cleveland Heights Golf Course.
Park closures go into effect the morning of Friday, April 3rd following the same guidelines set by the Governor’s Executive Order. Only essential activities are allowed per the Executive Order and the document made it very clear social gatherings in a public space is not an essential activity. The Executive order shall supersede any conflicting official action or order issued by local officials in response to COVID-19. The order goes into effect 12:01 a.m. on April 3, 2020, and shall expire April 30th.
According to the Florida Department of Health (FDOH), the state of Florida currently has 6,954 positive cases and 87 deaths due to the coronavirus. Polk County currently has 76 positive cases and all numbers continue to increase. To get the latest information and to view the real-time dashboard of COVID-19 cases in Florida, please visit floridahealthcovid19.gov. City Manager Tony Delgado said, “The safety and well-being of the community is the City’s primary concern and we certainly appreciate the community working together to help deter the spread of COVID-19. We received the Governor’s Order right before our 3 p.m. meeting so we are still dissecting the details to get a better idea of the essential versus non-essential businesses and activities listed in the document. I am sure there will be additional information coming out concerning that topic.”
The City of Lakeland encourages the public to follow the recommendations for social distancing and hygiene when participating in outdoor activities. The City of Lakeland has developed a dedicated webpage with a number of resources to help the community stay informed.
The City of Lakeland was incorporated in January 1885 and has grown to become one of the largest inland communities in Florida. With a current population of over 100,000, Lakeland continues to grow. It has been designated a Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area by the US Census Bureau for over 30 years. With tourist attractions and gulf beaches only an hour away, Lakeland continues to capitalize on its ideal central Florida location along the I-4 corridor. The City owns and operates Lakeland Electric, the third-largest publicly owned utility in Florida and it was one of the first to offer power in the Sunshine State over 110 years ago.
For additional information about the City of Lakeland, please explore lakelandgov.net.
Citizens are also invited to follow the City on social media.