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COVID-19

COVID-19: Impacts and Updates: Click here to view COVID-19 information, update and resources

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Government

COVID-19: Impacts and Updates

The City of Winter Haven is closely monitoring the impacts of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). This page will continuously be updated as this situation evolves.  Information and alerts will also be posted on the City’s social media outlets. Thank you for your patience as the City works to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Stay well and be well.

Please click HERE for an important message to our citizens from Winter Haven Mayor Brad Dantzler.

Please click HERE for the State of Florida, Office of the Governor Executive Order Number 20-91.

Special City Commission Meeting April 6, 2020; Use of Communications Media Technology during COVID-19;  Local State of Emergency (Resolution R- 20-25) 

The Winter Haven City Commission will hold a Special City Commission Meeting to consider authorizing the use of Communications Media Technology (CMT) for public meetings including but not limited to the public hearings of all boards of the City of Winter Haven and dependent special districts, including but not limited to the City Commission, during the COVID-19 Local State of Emergency on Monday, April 6, 2020, at 5:30 p.m. in Nora Mayo Hall at Florida Citrus Building, 500 Third Street NW, Winter Haven, Florida and consider other public health, safety and welfare matters related to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. The Agenda can be found HERE.

RESULTS FROM THE 3/18/2020 SPECIAL CITY COMMISSION MEETING

The Winter Haven City Commission held a Special City Commission Meeting on Wednesday, March 18 to consider adopting a resolution declaring a state of local emergency due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Click to see the document: R-20-23  Resolution declaring and proclaiming a State of Emergency within the City of Winter Haven Florida Due to COVID-19.

COVID-19: City of Winter Haven Update April 2, 2020; 4:30 p.m.

As we prepare to follow the Governor’s “Safer-at-Home” Executive Order that begins at 12:01 a.m., Friday morning, April 3, we want to thank you for taking the necessary actions to minimize the threat of infection among our citizens.  A link to the Governor’s Executive Order is above. As the Governor’s Order states, we want everyone to limit your movements and personal interactions outside of the home to only those necessary to obtain essential services or conduct essential activities. Please avoid all social and recreational gatherings of 10 or more people and socially distance yourselves from others by at least 6-feet. We are working through the Executive Order to ensure it is properly followed, and we ask for your patience. The purpose of the order is to limit the movement of people and safeguard life and health, and there are multiple guidelines for essential services and activities.  The City continues to update and answer questions on this COVID-19 webpage. For now, the City has no curfew. Certain public parks and City operated boat ramps remain open. For your health and safety, large gatherings in public spaces or on the lakes will not be permitted. Stay well.

CITY ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES AND MEETINGS

City Hall and the City Hall East Annex remain open.  City Hall Annex located at 551 3rd St. NW is closed to the public until further notice. Departments working out of the facility, including Utility Customer Service and Human Resources, will continue to operate and provide services to citizens.

City Hall East Annex has implemented a number of safety precautions to comply with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) social distancing guidelines and the Governor’s related orders. These precautions include admitting one customer at a time into the waiting room.  If the waiting room is occupied, customers are asked to wait outside and practice social distancing until the waiting room is clear.  Countertops, phones, computers and other frequently-touched items are sanitized regularly.

While certain public facilities are closed and events, activities and certain meetings are postponed, many City of Winter Haven administrative offices remain open for business, and staff continues to provide services to customers.  Should you need to visit a City facility, be assured staff continues vigorous efforts to continuously clean and sanitize all indoor areas and outdoor park amenities.

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

  • Regular City Commission Meetings – April 13; April 27; and thereafter are moved to Nora Mayo Hall for social distancing purposes until further notice.
  • City Commission Agenda Review Sessions are moved to Nora Mayo Hall for social distancing purposes until further notice.
  • 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 will be held at Nora Mayo Hall for social distancing purposes; April Special Magistrate meeting is canceled with cases pushed to the May meeting.

The City of Winter Haven IT Department is exploring and evaluating solutions for virtual meetings to keep the public engaged and informed.  More information will be provided once these tools are implemented.

Human Resources (HR)

The HR offices located in the City Hall Annex are closed to walk-in customers, but services and operations continue.  Those with an employment application can drop it in the utility payment drop box in the parking lot.  Staff is available by phone 863-291-5650 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. or by email at humanresources@mywinterhaven.com.  They are ready to assist with any HR related questions or requirements in an applicant’s job search process.

WH Public Safety Department

The Police Department Records Division located inside of the lobby is closed to walk-in customers. 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 closed to the public.  If you are in need of any of the following services please call the number listed below (Monday – Friday) to make a request or schedule an appointment.

  1. Fire or incident reports (please make provide the date and address of the incident). All reports will be either mailed or e-mailed. Call (863) 291-5677.
  2. If you are in need of fire prevention inspections, fire plan reviews, emergency plan reviews or BTR reviews please call the Fire Marshal at (863) 291-5692.

The Winter Haven Fire Department has suspended public education programs all three fire stations until further notice. Additionally, non-essential fire inspections will be suspended.  Winter Haven firefighters continue to respond to all 9-1-1 calls. Fire personnel are taking extra precautions by wearing additional protective gear.  Anyone with questions is urged to call the Fire Department Administrative line at 863-291-5677.

Public Safety staff undergoes regular medical surveillance  to make certain personnel are not displaying  symptoms of sickness.

The Public Safety Department’s attention is on being prepared with contingency plans to address various situations that could be brought about by  COVID-19.

Parks, Recreation and Culture Department

Based on the guidelines and recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the City of Winter Haven has suspended all athletic activities, special events, classes and city facility rentals now through May 9.

Indoor recreation facilities are closed until further notice.  This includes the Senior Adult Center; Winter Haven Public Library; AdventHealth Fieldhouse; Winter Haven Recreational and Cultural Center; and outdoor gathering facilities including Rowdy Gaines Olympic Pool, Winter Haven Tennis Center, Diamondplex, the Chain of Lakes Park Stadium and the Splash Pad at Trailhead Park.  These closures will reduce the potential for large gatherings and limited social distancing, while allowing for enhanced cleaning of City facilities, amenities and public spaces. Willowbrook Golf Course remains open. City operated boat ramps remain open; however, public restrooms are closed.

Click HERE for a full listing of all Parks, Recreation and Culture Department classes, events, athletics and rentals that are canceled through May 9, 2020.  Please contact the Parks, Recreation and Culture Department at 291-5656 for further information regarding events, athletics classes, rentals and facility closures.

City Water Department Information

  • Plant and field operations remain open 24/7.

The Utility Customer Service Operations office in the City Hall Annex is closed, but services continue as follows:

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 Portalhttps://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 check their account via routing and account number.

To submit an application for new service or to transfer service:

NOTE:  Service disconnects for non-payment and late fees have been temporarily suspended for 60 days.

Please contact us with Utility Service questions at 863-291-5678.

Public works

We understand the needs of local businesses may change over the coming weeks while we all work to navigate uncharted waters. The City of Winter Haven is ready to provide you with exceptional service in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.  Should you need to make an alteration to the solid waste service at your business such as changing the frequency of service, or placing your service on a temporary hold, please reach out to our Solid Waste office at 863-291-5756 or by email to SolidWaste@Mywinterhaven.com.

Solid waste collection services continue as scheduled.  Please be aware solid waste collection loads are heavier than usual, which causes delays in collection. We ask the public 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 is 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

Policy changes have been established for the City of Winter Haven’s Airport Administration Office and Fixed-Based-Operator (FBO) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recently enacted Executive Order 20-91 re: Essential Services and Activities During COVID-19 Emergency. Effective immediately, the following policy/procedures of the Airport Administration Office and Fixed-Based-Operator (FBO) are:

  1. The FBO main terminal landside entrance (Vehicular parking lot) will be monitored by City staff utilizing a locked door system with several telephone numbers listed to help limit foot traffic to those only on a “need to enter” basis. Entrance to the FBO main terminal airside (Aircraft apron) will remain open with limited available amenities.  A hand washing station has been made available prior to entry.
  2. The Airport Administration Office will be available by telephone and e-mail preferably. In-person meetings should be arranged by appointment only; however, if immediate assistance is needed, the Administration Office may take walk-ins.
  3. Line refueling services via the Jet A and AVGAS  refueling trucks will be limited to emergencies only. Exceptional cases may be approved only by the airport manager. Customers can access and utilize the self-service fuel points, which will be sanitized by City staff several times daily. In addition, a portable toilet and handwashing station is available at the self-service location.
  4. 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.

Changes made with this policy will be in effect for 30 days, and will be reviewed and updated as necessary.

Alex Vacha, Airport Manager, 863-298-4551

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.

FACEBOOK
NEXTDOOR
TWITTER

Awareness, Prevention and Additional Resource Information

Please click the buttons below for notices provided by the Center for Disease Control explaining what you need to know about the coronavirus and flu, as well as the simple things we all can do to reduce the potential for contracting or transmitting respiratory disease.

COVID19

COVID19 SPANISH

FLU AND YOU

STOP THE SPREAD OF GERMS

STOP THE SPREAD OF GERMS-SPANISH

Click this link to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) if you wish to learn more about the coronavirus:  WWW.CDC.GOV

Additional Resources

Below are various links to COVID-19 related resources.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Florida Department of Health

Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Call Center 1(866)779-6121 or email COVID-19@flhealth.gov

Florida Department of Health – Polk

Florida Department of Health – Polk County

Phone: 863.519.7911
Email: polkcommunications@flhealth.gov

State of Florida Website

Polk County School Board

Polk County Schools Free Lunch Pickup – The Polk County School Board Student Lunch Program will provide food service through Friday, March 20. There will be no lunch service the week of Spring Break (March 23-27).  No information has been released yet on any service following spring break.

  • Chain of Lakes Elementary School (CR653) 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
  • Inwood Elementary School (Ave G NW) 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
  • PEP Education Center (Ave R NE) 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
  • Jewett School of the Arts (8th NE) 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
  • The Mission (E. Central Ave) 10:15 am – 10:45 am

Polk County Schools Free Lunch Pickup

United Way of Central Florida – 2-1-1 Service Assistance

Polk County Government

Polk County Emergency Management

American Red Cross

Some outside entities offering free community meals (Dates, times and conditions may change):

  • 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.
BayCare to Launch Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing Sites

Clearwater, Fla., (March 17, 2020) – Starting Wednesday, BayCare patients who have been instructed by their doctor to be tested for COVID-19 will be able to provide a specimen for testing without leaving their cars. BayCare Health System is transforming seven BayCare Urgent Care locations across West Central Florida into drive-thru testing centers for COVID-19.  Initially,  the service will be limited only to those BayCare patients who meet the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) testing guidelines.

BayCare will operate the service seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Guidelines put forth by the CDC, recommend testing only for patients who have been screened by a medical professional as high-risk for COVID-19, either because of symptoms or travel histories or close contact with someone with COVID-19.

BayCare patients will be directed to the testing by their physician or by a physician from BayCareAnywhere, a telemedicine app that allows patients to obtain medical care via a smart phone, tablet or computer.

At each testing location, patients will quickly move through three stations while remaining in their car. Each patient, if they had not been already, also will be tested for routine respiratory viruses as well as COVID-19.

Results will be communicated to patients after they are processed by a laboratory, which takes anywhere from two to four days to receive. Positive results will be forwarded to the CDC for confirmation and shared with the Florida Department of Health, per state law.

Individuals who think they need to be tested for COVID-19 should first call their primary care physician or utilize BayCareAnywhere. To learn more, visit BayCareAnywhere.org.

Testing locations:

  • BayCare Urgent Care (Haines City) o 36245 U.S. Highway 27, Haines City, FL 33844
  • BayCare Urgent Care (Carillon) o 900 Carillon Parkway, Suite. 106, St. Petersburg, FL 33716
  • BayCare Urgent Care (New Port Richey) o 4821 U.S. Highway 19, New Port Richey, FL 34652
  • BayCare Urgent Care (Countryside) o 3351 N. McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater, FL 33761
  • BayCare Urgent Care (Tampa) o 3440 W. Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd., Suite 100, Tampa, FL 33607
  • BayCare Urgent Care (New Tampa) o 17512 Dona Michelle Drive, Suite 5, Tampa, FL 33647
  • BayCare Urgent Care (Bloomingdale) o 2442 Bloomingdale Ave., Valrico, FL 33596