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Gadsden County leaders prep for holiday weekend with COVID-19 restrictions, curfew

Posted at 5:28 PM, Jul 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-03 17:28:35-04

QUINCY, Fla. (WTXL) — Gadsden County leaders are preparing for the holiday weekend with health safety restrictions and a curfew starting at midnight.

Gadsden County leaders were the first to instill a curfew, stay at home ordinance, and mask mandate in the Big Bend area. People in town say the restrictions are working to keep COVID-19 numbers down.

The Bottom is Gadsden County's newest barbecue and smokehouse joint, opening a couple of months ago.

Now, like other restaurants across Florida, they're toeing the line for people's health.

"Trying to keep everyone as safe as possible," said Amanda Spears, with The Bottom.

Part of that means encouraging drive-thru and pick up orders, even on a holiday weekend when they could see more business and after commissioners voted to allow restaurants up to 50 percent capacity.

"Outdoor seating, and that's what our drive-thru window is for," Spears said. "We haven't had any complaints. People have actually been absolutely awesome and really nice."

Commissioners are keeping the county at Phase One for now, even though Governor Ron DeSantis' reopening plan is at Phase Two.

That means, along with the curfew, masks are required everywhere you go, and large gatherings are still prohibited.

"To keep our numbers down, to keep our citizens healthy and safe, and to also do our best to help reduce the number of increases that we, the state as a whole, is experiencing," said Dr. Viegbesie, the chairman of the Gadsden County Commission.

Dr. Viegbesie says he's proud cases have stayed low in the area, at more than 400 positive cases they've stayed about a third less than their neighbors in Leon County.

Spears attributes that to safety measures like masks.

"People have actually been really great about it.," Spears said. "They understand we're trying to do our best and still be able to serve good food."

"My fellow citizens of Gadsden County," Dr. Viegbesie said. "Please, please, wear your mask. It does save lives. Wear your mask and be safe."

The curfew will go into effect every night at midnight last until 5 a.m. the next morning.

As far as masks go, the Sheriff's Office says they haven't issued any citations yet, but if they do it's a civil misdemeanor or $500 fine.