Seminole, Alachua counties ask residents to report social distancing violators

Central Florida counties are asking their residents to "see something, say something," when it comes to COVID-19 dangers.

Seminole County leaders took to social media this week announcing that their community non-emergency lines are now also reporting lines for people who spot social distancing violations.

It comes after the county announced a social distancing ordinance that requires people and businesses take steps to keep everyone 6 feet apart and avoid large interactions

"We are requiring people follow the CDC guidance, it's not a recommendation anymore,” said Emergency Manager Alan Harris.

Harris said Wednesday that even with the Governor’s new stay-at-home order taking effect state-wide this week, Seminole will have some of the strictest rules in the state regarding the prevention of Covid19.

As a result, he said having people phone in violations of social distancing, especially businesses ignoring the orders, will allow county leaders to get ahead of potential problems and educate, fine, or shut-down violators accordingly.

Leaders in Alachua County have also added a "report violations" section to their COVID-19 online portal; asking residents to report violations of their emergency ordinance.

Spokesman Make Sexton says they have already gotten reports of businesses and individuals not following the rules and creating situations where COVID-19 could easily spread.

"We've gotten calls about impromptu parties that have sprung up outside,” said Sexton.

Sexton said county leaders have even been made aware of gatherings of more than 100 people tubing in close quarters at a near-by spring. He said unfortunately that situation was over the county line, but puts their residents in danger as well.

Harris said they’ve already been getting reports too. Some reports of minor violations, and others much more blatant and concerning.

"Unfortunately in a couple of the cases they were even blatantly violating the governor's executive order and keeping their restaurant open with patrons inside which is insanity at this point,” he said.

Seminole County leaders ask residents reporting issues to report them immediately so that enforcement can take place in real-time.

Harris urges people not to feel bad about ‘snitching’ at this time either.

"This is life and death right now, this is life and death. People are dying right now across this state and across this country,” he said.