At the end of last week, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried issued a proclamation declaring November as “COVID Impact Month,” in an effort to recognize and honor all those who have been affected by the virus.
Fried pointed to more than 4,000 new coronavirus cases per day in the past week and a death rate which has increased in the past three months, insisting declaring COVID Impact Month is a way to recognize the significant challenges that Floridians are still facing due to the virus.
“As the coronavirus continues to sweep across our state and nation, I want to remind Floridians that this pandemic is not over — that’s why here in Florida, November will be COVID Impact Month,” Fried said on Friday. “Whether you lost a loved one, battled the virus firsthand, supported someone who got sick, struggled due to the pandemic’s economic impact, or were affected in any way — we recognize your struggle, and we will come together to get through this. During COVID Impact Month, I hope we can all reflect on the grave challenges this virus has posed, the loss it’s caused, and remember that only together, by all doing our part, can we beat COVID-19.”
Last week, Fried sent a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Department of Management Services requesting that the Florida State Capitol be illuminated in the color red from November 2 to November 8 to serve as a symbol and a display of love, unity, and perseverance.
Many small businesses have shared that they have experienced financial struggles, with 85 percent indicating they have lost revenue. Throughout the month, Fried will be speaking with small business owners, essential workers, educators, frontline healthcare staff, and more, to hear how they have been impacted by COVID-19. Recordings of these one-on-one Zoom conversations will be posted to the Department’s social media pages to help share these stories of Floridians who have been affected by the virus.
Last month, Fried issued a cabinet proclamation recognizing October 16 to October 23 as “Mask Up Florida Week” in the state of Florida to raise awareness on the importance and effectiveness of mask-wearing as a way to help curb the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. In August, Commissioner Fried launched Be SMART Florida, a consumer awareness campaign asking Floridians to take small actions with proven results to slow the pandemic’s spread, including wearing masks. The awareness campaign uses an acronym to ask Floridians to Social distance, Mask up, Avoid crowds, Remember to wash or sanitize hands, and Throw away disposable PPE items like masks, gloves, and wipes.
Fried’s proclamation is as follows:
WHEREAS, COVID-19 disrupted society as we knew it and caused a dramatic loss of life in Florida, nationally, and worldwide.
WHEREAS, in March of 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic after it swept into at least 114 countries and killed more than 4,000 people.
WHEREAS, to date, over 784,330 Floridians have contracted COVID-19 and at least 16,648 lost their lives.
WHEREAS too many Floridians have a loved one or know someone who has been infected with the virus and suffered through the symptoms.
WHEREAS, the virus continues to pose an unprecedented challenge to public health, food security, and our economy.
WHEREAS, tourism and agriculture, two main drivers of Florida’s economy, became casualties of the virus following travel bans and the shutdown of the food service industry.
WHEREAS, thousands lost their jobs and too many families battle to keep their homes, while also making the tough decision of whether to send their children back to school.
WHEREAS, the matter of food insecurity amongst school-aged children worsened, hunger rates increased across the state.
WHEREAS, the virus shook our workforce as business owners closed their doors, costing nearly 169,000 Floridians their jobs.
WHEREAS, despite the horrific impact COVID-19 has caused, we can reclaim our lives by banding together and employing the basic values that have allowed humanity to survive for centuries — love, unity, and perseverance.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Nicole Fried, Commissioner of Agriculture for the State of Florida, do hereby proclaim that November 2020, shall be known, designated, and set aside as COVID-19 IMPACT MONTH in the state of Florida. During this month, we remember everyone who has been affected by COVID-19, whether they have battled the virus firsthand, supported a loved one or a friend who has suffered through the virus, lost their job or business, struggled with a lower income due to the pandemic’s economic impact, or been impacted in any way — we recognize your struggle and suffering — and we will come together to get through the COVID-19 pandemic.