County receives more than 500 reports of emergency order violations and concerns

Citizens needing clarification or who are upset with violations of state and local emergency orders have reported more than 500 via the COVID-19 Community Resource Portal.

According to Alachua County Communications and Legislative Affairs Director Mark Sexton, a majority of the complaints are entered directly in the “Report an Emergency Order Violation” link while others are being received as phone calls to 311.

Alachua County declared a State of Emergency effective March 16th, followed by a stay-at-home order from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis that went into effect on April 3 telling people to stay at home and leave only for “essential services,” such as buying groceries, obtaining health care, and getting gas or using the bank.

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“A lot of people are entering (complaints) in the system right on the portal,” Sexton said. “When 311 gets a call about a business not following the emergency order, they put in a request on the community resource portal.

“If it’s a crowd dispersion call it’s forwarded to 911 and they send out law enforcement,” Sexton said “And if it’s a business (complaint) that is routed to the right jurisdiction code enforcement.”

“There’s been quite a few calls from people,” Sexton said. Some of those calls are reporting non-essential businesses continuing to operate, he said. And some are employees asking if they are an essential business because their boss is saying they have to come in.

Other notices are coming from business owners. “Some calls come in about ‘I’m doing the right thing and I’m closed, but other businesses that do the same thing are open.’” Sexton added.

According to Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Art Forgey two very large gatherings were reported on April 12th. 

“The first was in the 2300 block of NW 162nd Street. We responded to that one numerous times as the participants would leave and then return once we were gone. Deputies did not advise a number of attendees but said there were 50-60 cars involved,” Forgey said. He also referenced a gathering on Waldo Road that was broken up the ACSO and the Gainesville Police Department.

To report a violation, go to the COVID-19 Community Resource Portal LINK here.

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