COVID-19: CDC tool, Moody vs cruise line, more cancellations

New Self-Check Tool

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched a COVID-19 Self-Checker tool to help you make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care. This system is not intended for the diagnosis or treatment of disease or other conditions, including COVID-19. This system is intended only for people who are currently located in the United States.

Moody goes after Norwegian Cruise Lines

Attorney General Ashley Moody today announced a Consumer Protection investigation into allegations of misleading and potentially dangerous sales pitches by Norwegian Cruise Lines. According to reports, NCL provided its sales force with inaccurate one-liners to respond to customer concerns about COVID-19. The misleading sales scripts allegedly downplayed the severity and highly contagious nature of the novel coronavirus in an effort to close cruise package sales.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “We are in the thick of a public health crisis like our modern world has never experienced. My Consumer Protection Division is conducting an extensive investigation to get to the bottom of the disturbing allegations against Norwegian Cruise Lines. Let this serve as a warning to anyone seeking to mislead consumers during these challenging times. I will do everything within the power of this office to hold accountable those who would prey on Floridians during this health crisis.”

At this early stage in the investigation, NCL is fully cooperating. Information about the misleading sales pitches was first brought to light by media reports in Miami, where NCL’s corporate headquarters is located.

According to reports, a whistleblower leaked emails that show NCL managers encouraged employees to downplay the risks associated with contracting COVID-19 with lines like, “the only thing you need to worry about for your cruise is do you have enough sunscreen,” and “the coronavirus can only survive in cold temperatures, so the Caribbean is a fantastic choice for your next cruise.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization and countless health experts, these statements are blatantly false. The CDC states on its website, “the virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community.” The CDC also advises people to “defer all cruise travel worldwide.”

The Blue Angels canceled all shows through May 17 to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

The Downtown Improvement Board (DIB) will continue to serve as a virtual office beginning Tuesday, March 24. The DIB will continue to operate with typical business hours, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. — 5 p.m. and will be fully accessible through typical phone and email communications.

Santa Rosa County Updates
The board of county commissioners (BOCC) will meet for its regular board meeting at 9 a.m., Thurs., Mar. 26. The agenda and supporting materials are published here. A public input form is available for input/comment on individual agenda items or to bring forward issues to be heard at public forum. The single meeting format (all business completed at regular meetings on Thursdays) will be continued through April.

The following meetings have been cancelled:
· RESTORE meeting, Tues., Mar. 24
· BOCC Special Rezoning Meeting, Thurs., Mar. 26
· Tourism Development Council, Thurs., Apr. 2
· Library Advisory Board Meeting, Thurs., Apr. 2
· BOCC Committee Meeting, Mon., Apr. 6
· Building Code Board of Adjustments, Wed., Apr. 8
· Zoning Board Meeting, Thurs., Apr. 9
· Fire Department Executive Group Meeting, Mon., Apr. 13
· BOCC LDC Review Meeting, Tues., Apr. 14
· Local Mitigation Strategy Plan Public Meeting, Tues., Apr. 14.
· Public Safety Coordinating Council Meeting, Wed., Apr. 15
· Local Mitigation Strategy Plan Public Meeting, Thurs., Apr. 16
· BOCC Committee Meeting, Mon., Apr. 20
· Commission Special – Rezoning Meeting, Thurs., Apr. 23
· Local Mitigation Strategy Task Force, Thurs., Apr. 23

Southern Airways Express has announced a six-month suspension of its scheduled service between Palm Beach, Tampa, Key West and Destin, Florida. Service between Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee will be suspended, as well. The suspension is a result of slowed demand created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cancellations are effective immediately. Flights will resume Oct. 19.

Seasonal service from Boston/Norwood, Providence, Rhode Island and Hyannis, Massachusetts to the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts was scheduled to return April 17. That date has been postponed until May 22. Passengers with tickets booked on canceled flights will be contacted by the Southern Airways customer service team and offered refunds or credits for future use.

“Southern will be shifting all of its resources to Pennsylvania, California, West Virginia and Arkansas to provide added support for our Essential Air Service communities,” said Stan Little, chairman and CEO of Southern Airways Corp.