COVID-19: City of Winter Haven Update August 10, 2020
The City of Winter Haven is closely monitoring the impacts of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), and this page along with the City’s social media outlets are continuously updated. Thank you for working together to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Click this link for testing information throughout Polk County. https://www.polk-county.net/covid-19/covid-19-testing-sites
Testing will be available at the First Missionary Baptist Church, 200 Ave R NW, Winter Haven, on the second and fourth Thursday of each month through November.
In partnership with Polk County Government, Baycare/Winter Haven Hospital has opened a drive-thru testing site in Winter Haven at the Gil Jones Government Building, 3425 Lake Alfred Road on US 17 north. The site will operate Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. The drive-thru site will use the back, or west side, of the parking lot. For more information click here.
If you have been financially affected by COVID-19, you are potentially eligible for additional assistance. Click HERE for details.
extended – Emergency Ordinance No. O-20-28 Requires Face Coverings Inside City Limits of Winter Haven
At the August 10 regular City Commission meeting, the City Commissioners approved an extension of the existing mask ordinance through September 15, 2020. Emergency Ordinance No. O-20-32
The City To read the original City of Winter Haven Emergency Ordinance No. O-20-28 Face Covering Requirement to slow the spread of COVID-19 (July 13, 2020) click HERE.
To read the PRESS RELEASE issued July 13, 2020: City of Winter Haven City Commission Passes Emergency Ordinance No. O-20-28 Requiring Face Coverings, click HERE.
Frequently Asked Questions
When did this requirement take effect and when does it end?
Emergency Ordinance No. O-20-28 went into effect Tuesday, July 14 at 5 p.m. and will expired August 14 at 5 p.m. At the August 10, 2020 regular City Commission meeting, the City Commissioners approved an extension of the existing mask ordinance through September 15.
Where are face coverings required?
Emergency Ordinance No. O-20-32 is in effect within the Winter Haven city limits. If you are not aware of where the boundaries are, click HERE for the interactive map and type the address of interest in the search box on the top left to determine if you are inside the city limits.
Face coverings are required in any indoor location (excluding one’s home or residence) when not maintaining social distancing from other persons. Face coverings don’t need to be worn outdoors unless you can’t maintain a physical distance of six feet from others. If you can keep the physical distance, a face covering is not needed when you are outside walking, exercising, or otherwise outside.
Why do I have to wear a face covering when around others?
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. The primary role of the use of face coverings is to reduce the release of infectious particles into the air when someone speaks, coughs, or sneezes, including someone who has COVID-19 but feels well. Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing, washing hands, and staying home when ill, but they may be helpful when combined with these primary interventions.
Need more information? Click HERE.
Who is required to wear a face covering?
Every person working, living, visiting, or doing business in the City of Winter Haven shall wear a face covering in any indoor location (other than their home or residence) when not maintaining social distancing from other person(s), excluding family members or companion(s). However, there are exceptions to the face covering requirement.
Are there any exceptions to wearing a face covering?
Yes, exceptions include:
- Persons under the age of eight (8) years old;
- Persons observing social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines;
- Persons for whom a face covering would cause impairment due to an existing health condition;
- Persons working in a business or profession who do not have interactions with other persons;
- Persons working in a business or profession who maintain social distancing from other persons;
- Persons working in a business or profession where use of a face covering would prevent them from performing the duties of their business or profession;
- Persons exercising, while maintaining social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines;
- Persons eating or drinking;
- Persons under the age of eighteen (18) years old while participating in youth sports;
- Public safety, fire and other life safety and health care personnel, as their protective equipment requirements will be governed by their respective agencies;
- Persons communicating with someone who is hearing impaired where the wearing of a face covering would impede communication, provided that social distancing is observed to the greatest extent practicable;
- Persons for whom the requirement to wear a face covering would cause a conflict with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Do I have to wear a mask if I am part of a small group of less than 50?
Masks must be worn if social distancing (defined as maintaining at least 6 feet from other people) cannot be observed. The requirements of the Emergency Ordinance could apply to as few as two people in an indoor location if not maintaining at least 6 feet between them and an exception does not otherwise apply.
Does this Emergency Ordinance affect my concealed carry permit or right to bear arms?
Wearing a mask does not affect one’s right to conceal and carry. The conceal and carry provision in Florida law does not contain any reference to wearing masks or face coverings, and therefore, wearing a mask does not affect that right. FL. Stat. 790.06. Second, the City is preempted from regulating firearms by Fla. Stat. 790.33, so a City mask requirement can have no effect on one’s right to bear arms.
Does the requirement include all of Polk County?
Emergency Ordinance No. O-20-32 is in effect only within the Winter Haven city limits. If you are not aware of where the boundaries are, click HERE for the link to this interactive map and type the address of interest in the search box on the top left to determine if you are inside the city limits.
What is considered a face covering?
A “Face Covering” is a uniform piece of material that securely covers a person’s nose and mouth and remains in place without the use of one’s hands, whether store-bought or homemade, concurrent with CDC guidelines.
Homemade coverings, bandannas, scarves and neck gaiters are all acceptable face coverings. The CDC steps to make and care for a cloth face covering can be found HERE. A video of how to make a cloth face covering can be found HERE.
Is the City of Winter Haven distributing face coverings to citizens?
In response to stop the spread of Covid-19, the City of Winter Haven is offering free face masks at a number of City facilities while supplies last. In addition to the drive-through distribution site at the Florida Citrus Building (Nora Mayo Hall) at 500 3rd Street NW from 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. The following facilities will also provide up to three disposable face masks per person beginning Monday, July 27, 2020.
- City Hall (Reception Desk) Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Winter Haven Recreational and Cultural Center (inside main lobby) Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- AdventHealth Fieldhouse (Reception Desk) Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Winter Haven Public Library Walk-Up Window (North side of building off the parking lot) Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Friday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- City Hall Annex, Account Services (Payment window) Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Police Department (Main Lobby) Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Florida Citrus Building (Main Lobby) Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
How will this Emergency Ordinance be enforced?
The Winter Haven Police Department is responsible for the enforcement Emergency Ordinance No. O-20-32. Should you need to contact them regarding mask enforcement or questions, please call WHPD’s non-emergency number, 863-291-5858. Do not dial 911 unless it is an emergency.
The intent of the requirement is to allow the community to resume normal activities while protecting the overall public health and safety, and preventing the further spread of COVID-19. The City Commission intent is for voluntary compliance with the provisions to educate and warn of the dangers of non-compliance. However, in the event voluntary compliance is not achieved, then violation of this Emergency Ordinance shall be subject to a fine of One Hundred Fifty Dollars ($150).
What should I do if I see someone without a face covering?
Be courteous and kind! Be accepting that the individual has a valid reason, including concerns for their own health and safety. Please do not shame or yell at people who are not wearing face coverings. Others may have breathing problems or health issues you do not know about. People who cannot wear a cloth face covering are not required to show proof of their medical condition nor are they required to name their medical condition.
For your own safety, do not confront or start an argument with individuals. Stay at least 6-feet away from people who are not wearing face coverings. You can call or talk to the business owner or manager about your concerns if you see staff or customers who are not wearing face covers in indoor public settings while not social distancing.
Face Coverings Required Inside City Government Facilities
CITY ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES AND MEETINGS
City Hall Annex located at 551 3rd St. NW is partially closed. Departments working out of the facility, including Utility Customer Service and Human Resources, will continue to operate and provide virtual services to citizens. A portion of Customer Service is open for walk-ins. Please see below for full information.
City Hall East Annex Building & Engineering Divisions located at 490 3rd Street NW remains staffed, but is not accepting walk-in customers. To conduct business please call the Building Division at 863-291-5695, or the Engineering Division at 863-291-5850.
Customers are encouraged to use online services whenever possible, such as for utility billing payments and public records requests. Information and updates will also be placed on the City’s social media accounts (scroll down for link buttons), as well as this website. Please check back regularly.
City Meeting Changes and Cancellations
- Communications Media Technology (CMT) is used for public meetings during the COVID-19 Local State of Emergency. Directions to participate in public meetings through observation and formal public comments will be published for each meeting on the NEWS & UPDATES portion of the main Winter Haven website page (www.mywinterhaven.com). While all meetings will remain public, certain meetings will offer public comment opportunities. Details about participation options can be found in each meeting notice, or by calling the City Clerks office at 863-291-5600 during business hours. The public is invited to listen to or watch public meetings by visiting www.facebook.com/winterhavenflorida/ where meets will be live streamed. Formal meeting public comment is not available on Facebook Live.
- The Downtown CRA Advisory Committee and Florence Villa Advisory Committee will continue to meet at Nora Mayo Hall. All other City Advisory Committee Meetings are suspended until further notice.
- The Code Enforcement Special Magistrate meetings are held at Nora Mayo Hall for social distancing purposes.
Human Resources (HR)
The HR offices located in the City Hall Annex are open to walk-in customers. Those with an employment application can drop it in the utility payment drop box in the parking lot. Staff remains available by phone 863-291-5650 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are ready to assist with any HR related questions or requirements in an applicant’s job search process.
Winter Haven Public Safety Department
The Winter Haven Police Department lobby is open for walk-in traffic from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. All services have returned to normal except fingerprinting, which is suspended until further notice. The lobby will be deep cleaned at the beginning of each day with periodic sanitizing conducted throughout the day. Citizens who are exhibiting flu-like symptoms are asked to not enter the facility.
The Police Department Records Division located inside of the lobby is open; however, police reports and other records requests can be obtained by calling 863-291-5858 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Reports can be mailed, emailed or faxed to customers.
To pay a downtown parking ticket, go to www.winterhavenpd.com. Scroll to the “Online Services” area and the link for payment is on the page. A payment extension will be in place for those unable to use the online options with customers being notified of payment due once the lobby opens back up to the public.
Online reporting option for non-emergency calls include Lost/Stolen Bicycle, Criminal Mischief, Fraud/Identity Theft/Forgery, Lost/Stolen Cell Phone and Lost/Stolen Vehicle Tag or Decal. Those options are available on the website as well as the Department’s smart phone app. Click HERE for online reporting. Download the Winter Haven PD app from your smart phone app store. Please call 9-1-1 immediately should you have an emergency. For non-emergency situations, call 863-401-2256.
All Leadership Council activities for this Council session are suspended.
All City Fire Station lobbies are open. Call (863) 291-5677 should you have questions or need non emergency services such as fire or incident reports, fire inspections, fire plan review or BTR reviews.
The Winter Haven Fire Department has suspended public education programs and non-essential fire inspections. Winter Haven firefighters continue to respond to all 9-1-1 calls. Fire personnel are taking extra precautions by wearing additional protective gear.
Public Safety staff undergoes regular medical surveillance to make certain personnel are not displaying symptoms of sickness. The Public Safety Department is prepared with contingency plans to address various situations that could be brought about by COVID-19.
Parks, Recreation and Culture Department
City parks, facilities, boat ramps and operations are open. Click HERE for a list of the dates each one reopened. This phased approach remains adjustable should issues occur affecting the health and well-being of the community. The Winter Haven Senior Adult Center will reopen August 3, 2020. Continue to follow social distancing practices. Please do not place yourself in a large gathering. Enjoy the facilities while respecting the health of others. Please contact the Parks, Recreation and Culture Department at 291-5656 for further information regarding events, athletics classes, rentals and facility closures.
Winter Haven Public Library
The Winter Haven Public Library is open Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. There are new services available to help keep you and your family safe while still having access to materials, summer fun and resources!
Access Library Services Without Entering the Building
- The Full-Service Walk-Up Window is located on the north side of the building. It is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. & Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Download our new Mobile App
- Search “Polk County Library Cooperative” in your App Store
- Login with your Library card number and PIN
- Get access to new features including linking family accounts, quick access to WiFi Printing, our new personal Shopper service, and more!
Try our New Personal Shopper Service
- Answer a few questions about your book preferences and our librarians will hand-pick some recommendations for you!
City Water Department Information
NOTE: Disconnection of service for non-payment began July 6 and late fee charges will began July 13.
Winter Haven Utility Customer Services is partially open in the City Hall Annex. One payment window is open and one customer is permitted in the lobby at a time. Social distancing markings are on the walkway, hand sanitizing stations are available, face masks are worn by staff, and the public is encouraged to wear face coverings. Those who need to create new accounts, transfer an account or close an account can complete the information online at wh2o.mywinterhaven.com/portal/ or by appointment by calling 863-291-5678.
To make a payment, customers can:
- Mail –Winter Haven Utilities Office, PO Box 2277, Winter Haven, FL 33883
- Utility Bill Drop Box located in the City Hall Annex parking lot
- Online Utility Portal – https://wh2o.mywinterhaven.com/portal/
- Mobile App – download “WH2o” in Google Play or Apple Store
- 24HR Interactive Voice Response (1-855-270-3592) – allows customers to make payment anytime with credit or debit card. Customers can also pay by entering their checking account information.
To submit an application for new service or to transfer service:
- Applications for new utility accounts are located on line at https://www.mywinterhaven.com/utilities/about/account-services/start-or-stop-services/ and can be completed and electronically emailed to email@example.com, faxed to 863-298-7870, or placed in the drop box in the parking lot located at 551 3rd St. NW.
For more information, call Utility Customer Services at 863-291-5678.
Need financial assistance to assist with bills during this difficult time? The Polk CARES web page has additional resources. Or call the Polk County call center at 863-298-7500. There is a team of people waiting to answer questions from small business owners and impacted individuals Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Solid waste collection services continue as scheduled. Solid waste collection loads are heavier than usual, which causes delays in collection. We ask you to be patient as crews work hard to keep up with the volume.
Department of Economic Opportunity and Community Investment
Building & Engineering Divisions located at 490 3rd Street NW remain open for business. However, to ensure the safety of our customers and staff we are no longer taking walk in customers. All necessary applications and forms can be found in a box outside the door. Place your completed application and/or form in the box, and they will be collected for processing. The customer will then be contacted and payments will be taken over the phone (via credit card or check). To contact the Building Division please call 863-291-5695. To contact the Engineering Division please call 863-291-5850.
Winter Haven Regional Airport
The Airport Administration Office will be practicing separation distancing between customers and employees per CDC guidance.
Self-service fuel points will be the preferred method of refueling; however, line refueling services will be available using proper personal protective equipment for line staff. We request that customers continue to practice social distancing (Six (6) feet or more) while the line service technicians are present. Self-service fuel points will continue to be cleaned and the portable restroom and hand-washing station will remain in place.
Hours of operation for the FBO will remain 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., seven (7) days a week. The Administration Office will also maintain regular hours of 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Flightline Café is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
City Electronic Resources
Information and updates will be placed on this site as well as the City’s social media accounts (links below). Please check back regularly.
WINTER HAVEN CITY COMMISSION INFORMATION
Please click HERE for an important message to our citizens from Winter Haven Mayor Brad Dantzler.
Please click HERE for information placed in City of Winter Haven utility bills regarding COVID-19 and staying healthy.
Click R-20-23 for the Resolution declaring and proclaiming a State of Emergency within the City of Winter Haven Florida due to COVID-19.
Information from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
On Wednesday, April 29, Governor DeSantis announced Phase 1 of the “Safe, Smart, Step-by-Step” plan for Florida’s recovery. Click HERE to read the Frequently Asked Questions. Please continue to avoid large social and recreational gatherings and socially distance yourselves from others by at least 6-feet. The use of face coverings/masks are recommended.
Please click HERE for the State of Florida, Office of the Governor Executive Order Number 20-111, and click HERE for the Executive Order Number 20-112. Please click HERE for the State of Florida, Office of the Governor Executive Order Number 20-91.
If you believe a licensed business is operating contrary to the Governor’s Executive Orders, please report the information to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) by clicking HERE.
On Friday, June 26 the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) suspended the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption at all bars throughout the state. The suspension of alcohol sales directed by DBPR Emergency Order 2020-09 is effective immediately.
Awareness, Prevention and Additional Resource Information
Please click the buttons below for notices provided by the Center for Disease Control explaining the coronavirus and flu, and what we can do to reduce the potential for contracting or transmitting respiratory disease.
Click Center for Disease Control (CDC) to learn more about COVID-19 and staying healthy.
Polk County resident COVID-19 rental assistance: Call the Homeless Coalition of Polk County at (863) 687-8386.
Below are various links to COVID-19 related resources.
Some outside entities offering free community meals (Dates, times and conditions may change). This is not an endorsement, but a resource. All agencies providing services should follow CDC guidelines and the State of Florida Governor’s Executive Orders.:
- The Mission, 180 E Central Ave: Mon-Fri 11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m., plus food pantry services
- First Presbyterian Church, 637 6th St NW: Saturdays 4-5:30 p.m. plus daily bag lunch services
- St Matthews Catholic Church at Regenerations, 197 W Central Ave.: Thursdays 5 p.m. and Sundays 12:30 pm
- First Church of the Nazarene, 560 3rd St SW: Wednesday 5:30 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m.; Tuesday 7 p.m.; Friday 7 p.m.