COLLIER COUNTY — Collier County Commissioners have rejected a stay at home order for the county.
The order was being considered as a drastic step to stop there spread of the Coronavirus. The decision was made after hours of comments from the public on both sides of the issue.
The discussion at the meeting began with a warning.
“The worst we’re seeing from places like China, from Italy, are horrifying, and we’re no different. We’re going to see this happen here," said Dr. Zubin Pachori, from NCH Hospital.
Pachori explained that, if something isn’t done now to slow down the spread, healthcare workers could get overwhelmed.
“The very first hot spot in the country was in Kirkland, in Washington, which was at a skilled nursing facility. We have about a dozen of those in this county. If one or two of those get it, our ER’s, our ICU’s, our hospitals, are done," said Pachori.
But as soon as the public was allowed to comment, the tone of the discussion changed.
“COVID-19 is serious. There are people who are dying as a result of it, but at the same time, what we cannot do is completely shut down our economy in response to this crisis," said State Rep. Byron Donalds.
Donalds was joined by dozens of speakers who opposed the "Stay at Home" order. He says, besides the potential damage to the economy, he doesn’t think it’s legal.
“The legislature hasn’t given them that authority, the Governor hasn’t given them authority, and I don’t think they have it," said Donalds.
Ultimately, the board chose not to pass the ordinance, and instead said they would depend on the public to stop the spread.
“It’s going to depend upon everybody in Collier County taking responsibility for doing everything each one of us can to go by the social distancing requirements by the CDC," said Commissioner Andy Solis.
The board said it could come back to discuss the issue in the future if necessary, but for now, commissioners plan to rely on the guidelines from the state about how to respond.