As cases of the coronavirus spread across Florida, Brevard County government officials declared a local state of emergency Saturday afternoon — a day after a national emergency was declared federally.
Some of the advantages of having an emergency declaration are that it:
• Helps obtain necessary supplies quickly: Procurement policy may be waived to allow for timely access to personal protective equipment for first responders and sanitation supplies for critical public buildings, such as courthouses, the Brevard County Jail and the Brevard County Emergency Operations Center.
• Removes obstacles to a timely response: The county manager may be permitted to adjust leave policies and, if necessary, suspend union contracts in order to deal with a potential emergency.
• Provides timely access to financial resources by cutting red tape: Financial reserves may be accessed, as needed, to stage in anticipation of and, if necessary, respond to an emergency.
• In the event of a biological threat, reduces the threat of person-to-person transmission: Mass gatherings may be limited, as necessary and appropriate.
• Streamlines intergovernmental crisis management: Measures to better coordinate consequence management, in conjunction with Florida Department of Health and Brevard Public Schools, may be implemented.
• Better enables the county to seek federal reimbursement: The declaration of an emergency situates the county such that it may qualify for Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursement that might otherwise not be available.