Palm Coast, FL - Attached is an open letter to the Palm Coast community from Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland, City Manager Matthew Morton and Fire Chief Jerry Forte. At their request, we are printing the letter in it's entirety.
Open Letter to Palm Coast Community from Your City Leaders
Hello, Palm Coast Community.
From the beginning we've been open, honest, transparent and consistent in our messaging and
our approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decisions we’ve made, and continue to make,
have relied on the best evidence and the timeliest facts. We have acknowledged our
responsibility for identifying and delivering essential services and crisis response throughout this
Each member of the City of Palm Coast team is keenly aware of the trusted and vital role we
serve together. We have all been living our core mission that you, our residents, are the
purpose of our work.
We know the weight that each of you are carrying. We hold each of you – our residents, health
care workers, teachers, first responders, front-line workers, business owners, vulnerable
populations and our entire community – in our hearts. Hope inspires the good to reveal itself –
consistent and responsible actions bring that which has been revealed into reality.
The entire staff at the City of Palm Coast and their families would like to sincerely thank the
Palm Coast community for their diligence and understanding during this challenging time.
Although we are near the peak of the pandemic, there is still so much more to do. The projected
height of the pandemic in our area is constantly changing, with residual outfall expected to last
several weeks or months. Current data still shows we are on the rise with COVID-19 cases and
that we have not flattened the curve in our community. We remain diligent and focused on what
is truly important, our citizens.
As your leaders, we make tough decisions every day based on what we know is best for the
health and well-being of our community. With over 90,000 residents and a significant portion
falling in a higher at- risk category, we must personalize
these decisions to best serve our
community. Please continue to support the restrictions that are in place for not just the
community, but also for the people that are continuing to be on the front line of this pandemic:
firefighters, law enforcement, EMS workers and hospital personnel.
These resources are crucial. The pandemic has significantly taxed our systems. Currently, we
still face a nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and various supply
chains have experienced disruption. We must remember that we are also in wildfire season and
hurricane season will return in a few short weeks.
These actions we take today must contemplate the stability, strength and resiliency of our
response systems to endure our readiness in managing these coming challenges. From our
doctors, nurses, hospital staff, law enforcement, firefighters and paramedics, we remain mindful
about strengthening and protecting our front lines. I assure you we are up to this task, but it will
take community partnership.
As the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to shape our daily lives, affecting
how, where, and when we work, getting sick or anxious, or worrying if our families are at risk, it’s
easy to feel like your individual actions may not matter in the grand scheme of things. But every
single one of us plays a part in our community’s health.
In Palm Coast, teams of subject matter experts have been working diligently through this
disaster to ensure your calls are answered and we are operating effectively. As we have
demonstrated in other trying times in the past, we are carrying out our mission with many
successes while overcoming challenges and obstacles. By reducing exposure, creatively
planning for PPE and maintaining a healthy workforce, we are ensuring our response not just to
the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to all your regular emergencies as well.
We have seen the worst life has to offer and have been inspired by those who have rose above
to overcome those difficulties. We strive to keep our staff safe so that, in turn, they are ready to
be there for you. We lead by example and empower those to be responsible for your sake. The
best decision we can make is to help our City to not only survive, but also recover from this
pandemic. Premature lessening of the lifesaving restrictions will prolong the City’s recovery
process and can cause a danger to our most vulnerable population.
Shortages of personal protective equipment, nationwide, can demonstrate how reliant we are on
the simplest of needs. When those resources are unavailable, it places firefighters, medical
workers, nurses and doctors at risk. The City has created alternative utilizations for our PPE so
more supplies can go to the ambulances and the hospital. Extraordinary demand on a system
that is already searching for PPE can cause strain on a delicate system.
The measures taken to this point were to ensure the City response is optimized and the health
care professionals are ready to serve the community safely. The risk to our population is too
great to reopen the City too soon.
Let’s come together as a unified Palm Coast and take ownership of this pivotal moment. We
have a responsibility as community – to our friends, family and neighbors – to do the right thing
in this most crucial time. Our economy will recover. Our way of life will return.
We must remain steadfast in our approach and see this through to the end. While the Governor
has a responsibility to the entire State of Florida, we have a responsibility and commitment to
you, our more than 90,000 local residents. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to this
pandemic. We manage that responsibility through the value of our local perspective, knowledge
and the specifics that make Palm Coast truly unique.
We have not forgotten the importance of helping people feel connected by understanding we
are all in this together. We will continue to promote additional avenues of community support
like the Mayor’s Rise Up Palm Coast and Feed Palm Coast Initiatives to the fullest extent for the
well-being of our community.
Our residents are incredibly resilient, as we’ve seen through wildfires, hurricanes and now a
pandemic. We’re asking for your strength and resolve once more as we face down the next
phase of this global crisis.
Our leaders have been meeting and are committed to releasing this week our reopening
strategy that will benchmark when and how we are opening. Please continue to stay informed
on all of the latest updates. This reopening strategy might need situational adjustments, but it
will be thoughtful, timely and on an appropriate schedule to begin our return to normalcy.
Until then, stay safe and please continue to do your part. We are all in this together and we will
all get through this together.