CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION UPDATES

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office is committed to continuing to serve the residents and visitors of our county with the utmost transparency during these unprecedented times.

In the spirit of transparency and our dedication to maintaining a currency of trust with the public, we have launched an internal incident command team fully staffed with knowledgeable experts from individual bureaus within our agency who are collaborating with local agencies to keep you all updated with the most up-to-date information regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Updates regarding public services provided by the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, the Walton County Jail, Walton County Fire Rescue, Walton County Animal Services, and the Walton County Child Protection Unit will be provided below.

This limit potential COVID-19 exposure to our agency members, all Walton County Sheriff’s Office, Walton County Animal Shelter, and Walton County Fire Rescue locations are CLOSED to the public, unless you are experiencing an emergency.

Affected WCSO Services

Law Enforcement Services

04/01/2020

Patrol deputies are responding to calls and operating as usual. WCSO deputies have been issued Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits along with training guidelines on proper caution to be taken to prevent possible exposure to COVID-19.

RIDE-ALONGS WITH DEPUTIES HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

Walton County Jail Operations

04/01/2020

Jail Operations

The Walton County Jail facility is cleaned and sanitized on an on-going and constant basis. There are no inmates who are at-risk or showcasing any symptoms of COVID-19 at this time. Should any inmates show symptoms of the Coronavirus, protocols have been established to isolate the individual(s) and provide medical treatment as per the Center of Disease Control (CDC) and Florida Department of Health. In order to limit access and potential COVID-19 exposure to our residents, our staff, and the inmate population, the use of our in-lobby video visitation monitors has been temporarily suspended. The Walton County Jail is also restricting civilian volunteer access for programming purposes until further notice. Finally, only those individuals who are statutorily obligated for registration and fingerprinting services will be permitted to enter the jail facility; and only after screening.

Inmate Visitation

Video visitation services will remain available for access via computer or mobile device to accommodate visits. Our communications provider, GettingOut, is temporarily providing 15 minutes of free video visitation per week. The 15 minutes will renew every Sunday at midnight. DETAILS: • All persons incarcerated at the time free weekly video visit is offered will be provided 15 minutes of free video visit time each week. • The 15 minutes of video visit time renews every Sunday at midnight and is available to be used at your discretion each week. • If the free weekly visit time is not used, no credit will be given. To sign up, visit: https://waltonso.org/inmate-calling/

Walton County Animal Services

04/01/2020

In an attempt to limit potential COVID-19 exposure to our residents and to our staff, The Walton County Animal Shelter lobby is closed to the general public until further notice. Citizens will not be allowed to drop off stray/lost animals or surrender their pets to the shelter until the lobby is re-opened to the public. If you need to pick up your lost or adopted pet, please call the Walton County Animal Shelter to set up an appointment. (850) 892-8758 All off-site weekend adoption events will be suspended until further notice. Walton County Animal Services has temporarily suspended issuing animal traps unless for dangerous dogs, bite cases, etc. Walton County Animal Control Officers will continue to respond to all animal-related calls at this time. All ACO’s have been provided gloves and hand sanitizer to keep in their vehicles to use during calls.

Child Protection Services

04/01/2020

Walton County Child Protection Services will continue to respond to child neglect and child abuse calls, but will be conducting interviews outside of homes in order to keep staff members and residents safe from potential exposure to COVID-19.

Walton County Fire Rescue

03/31/2020

Walton County Fire Rescue personnel will continue to respond to all non-emergency and emergency calls at this time. All fire rescue personnel have been provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) along with extensive training on proper caution to be taken to prevent possible exposure to COVID-19. In an attempt to limit potential COVID-19 exposure to our residents and to our staff, all Walton County Fire Rescue stations are closed to the general public, except for emergency walk-ups.

RIDE-ALONGS WITH FIRE RESCUE CREWS HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

Walton County Closures and Updates

Salons & Barbershops

05/11/2020

According to Executive Order 20-120:   Barbershops, cosmetology salons, and cosmetology specialty salons that adopt appropriate social distancing and precautionary measures outlined by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation at the following link http://www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/ may begin providing services to the public again effective Monday, May 11, 2020 at 12:01 AM.   To view Executive Order 20-120, visit https://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/orders/2020/EO_20-120.pdf.

Libraries & Museums

05/01/2020

Walton County libraries are set to re-open on Tuesday, May 26, 2020   Walton County Heritage Museum is closed until further notice.

Retail Stores

05/01/2020

According to Executive Order 20-112:   In-store retail sales establishments must remain at no more than 50% of their building occupancy and abide by the safety guidelines issued by the CDC and OSHA.   To view Executive Order 20-112, visit https://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/orders/2020/EO_20-112.pdf.

Vacation Rentals

05/01/2020

According to Executive Order 20-123, counties may seek approval to operate vacation rentals with a written request from the County Administrator and the county's safety plan for vacation rental operations submitted to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary.   The County Administrator for Walton County submitted Walton County's plan to reopen short term vacation rentals to the Department of Business and Professional Regulations on Friday, May 15, 2020. They are awaiting a response from the DBPR.   To view Walton County's Safety Plan for Short Term Rentals, CLICK HERE.

Gyms & Fitness Centers

05/01/2020

According to Executive Order 20-123, gyms and fitness centers may operate up to 50% of their building occupancy so long as they adopt safety measures including appropriate social distancing for classes and sufficient cleaning supplies to ensure, at a minimum, patrons' individual self-cleaning of surfaces and machines using sanitation wipes following each use. To view Executive Order 20-123, visit https://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/orders/2020/EO_20-123.pdf.

Walton County Schools

04/01/2020

All Walton County Schools will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year.   Walton County School District has set up a food distribution program for students in need. For more information, see below.   No photo description available.

Walton County Beaches

04/01/2020

All public and private beaches in Walton County are OPEN. Groups of more than ten (10) people are prohibited, and a minimum of six (6) foot social distancing shall apply.  
Beach vending is now permitted in Walton County. However, beach vendors must follow the below social distancing guidelines outlined the Walton County Board of County Commissioners:
  1. Vendors shall place equipment at a minimum of 6 feet apart
  2. Vendors shall not place equipment in a manner to allow groups of more than 10 to congregate
  3. Vendors shall disinfect equipment between each use
  Beach bonfires remain suspended.   All special events on the beach remain suspended.

Bars & Restaurants

04/01/2020

According to Executive Order 20-112, all bars, pubs, and nightclubs that derive more than 50% of their gross revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages remain suspended from the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.   To view Executive Order 20-112, visit https://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/orders/2020/EO_20-112.pdf.   According to Executive Order 20-123, restaurants may allow on-premises consumption of food and beverages so long as they limit their indoor occupancy to no more than 50% of their seating capacity, excluding employees. Bar counters are to remain closed to seating. Outdoor seating is allowed with appropriate social distancing. Appropriate social distancing requires maintaining a minimum of 6 feet between parties, only seating parties of 10 or less, keeping bar counters closed to seating.   To view Executive Order 20-123, visit https://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/orders/2020/EO_20-123.pdf.

County & State Parks

04/01/2020

All Walton County Parks are open. Effective Tuesday, May 5th at 5:00 PM, all city parks in DeFuniak Springs are expected to be open, including restrooms at all facilities. Effective Friday, May 8, 2020, Topsail Park is open for day use, 8 a.m. to sunset. The park will operate at 50% capacity only for the time being, and the tram service to the beach is suspended until further notice. At this time, Topsail Park will only take payment in the form of credit cards or exact change. Effective Monday, May 4th the Department of Environmental Protection will implement phase one to reopen the Florida State Parks. As these parks reopen, DEP will be taking safety measures to ensure the protection of staff and the public. During this early phase of reopening, visitors should expect limited hours, capacity, and amenities. Phase one includes approximately 80 parks and trails throughout Florida. Portions of these parks and trails have been identified that can be reopened for day use with limited risk for visitors and staff. As of now, Grayton Beach State Park which is only allowing access north of 30a at this time. Deer Lake State Park is open for day use, 8 a.m. to sunset, for active recreation only, such as walking, jogging, swimming and fishing. Restrooms and trash cans are available, all other park facilities are closed. Normal park fees apply. Visitors are expected to maintain safe social distances of at least 6 feet apart and limit group size to 10 people. Top Sail remains closed. Further information and a full list of limited partial park openings can be found at: https://www.floridastateparks.org/learn/safety-updates

Community Resources

Community Resource Guide

04/08/2020

LOCAL STORE HOURS

WINN DIXIE

Winn Dixie is dedicating one hour of shopping time to health care professionals and first responders at all of their locations on Mondays and Tuesdays from 8:00 - 9:00 PM. They are also offering a dedicated hour of shopping to senior citizens and high-risk customers Monday-Friday 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM. For more information regarding Winn Dixie's response to COVID-19, CLICK HERE.

WALMART

Walmart stores have adjusted their operating hours to 7:00 AM - 8:30 PM to further help associates restock the shelves for customers while continuing to clean and sanitize the store. Stores that open later than 7:00 AM will continue their regular starting hours. From March 24 through April 28, Walmart stores will host an hour-long senior shopping event every Tuesday for customers aged 60 and older. This will start one hour before the store opens. Walmart Pharmacies and Vision Centers will also be open during this time. For more information regarding Walmart's response to COVID-19, CLICK HERE.

PUBLIX

Publix is designating Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, 7:00 AM - 8:00 AM, as reserved shopping hours for customers age 65 and over. Publix Pharmacy will also open at 7:00 AM on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to serve our customers age 65 and older. Order Publix groceries right from your home when you use delivery or curbside pickup. CLICK HERE to find out more about online shopping and grocery delivery/pick-up. For more information regarding Publix's response to COVID-19, CLICK HERE.

DOLLAR GENERAL

Dollar General began senior store hours, which are designed to allow customers age 65 and over to shop during the first hour that their stores are open to avoid busier and more crowded shopping periods. Although stores will open at normal hours, Dollar General will continue closing an hour early for the time being to allow employees to clean stores, restock shelves, and care for their own well-being. For more information regarding Dollar General's response to COVID-19, CLICK HERE.  

SAFETY MASKS

Safety masks can be purchased through Professional Products in DeFuniak Springs online at https://www.ezywrap.com/ or over the phone at 1-800-234-9004.  

HEALTH INFORMATION

LOCAL

STATE

FEDERAL

FAQs

04/01/2020

  1. Can a deputy still come talk to me in person?
Yes, but be advised they may ask you to come outside. In addition, they may be in personal protection equipment including gloves and masks.
  1. I live out of state but own a house in Walton County, can I still come to my vacation house? Will I be able to leave once I enter Florida?
The White House has issued a statement, "Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, and social visits." This link is from the CDC regarding US Travel. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-in-the-us.html. Depending on your unique circumstances, you may choose to delay or cancel your plans. If you do decide to travel, be sure to take steps to help prevent getting and spreading COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases during travel. Our agency approach is to encourage folks to stay home. It's imperative in helping to reduce the spread of this virus.
  1. Are the boat landings closed at the county parks? I want to go fishing and my boat will be more than 6 feet from others fishing.
Boat ramps are still open. Parks are closed. However, an Executive Order from FWC states you must have less than ten people on your vessel.
  1. Are all State, County, & City parks closed or just the County Parks?
All Walton County parks are closed. All DeFuniak Springs city parks are closed with the exception of the Lake Yard. All State parks are open as of Monday, May 4, 2020.
  1. Where can I buy toilet paper?
Walton County Sheriff's Office is not keeping a running list of stores that have supplies of toilet paper and other items. However, we would encourage residents to call stores ahead of time to see if they've restocked and use pick up when possible.
  1. I heard I can get the virus by touching clothes, cardboard, plastic, and metal. Is this true?
Yes, depending on how long the virus has been on the surface. Please follow FDOH and CDC guidelines and wash your hands regularly.
  1. Why are you asking me questions about having a fever, I just want a deputy not a medic?
Dispatchers are asking COVID-19 related questions for your safety as well as the safety of our first responders when you call either our emergency or our non-emergency lines.
  1. I need to go pick up my kids in another state, will I be able to re-enter Florida?
Yes, but depending on where your kids are located, you and your family may be required to self-isolate for 14 days following your return.
  1. If I leave my home in Walton County to go check on my other home in New Orleans can I come back to my home here?
Yes, but you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days following your return.
  1. Can deputies go to neighbor's house down the street and break up a party because there are about 20 people there and they are not supposed to have more than 10?
Yes, according to Executive Order, no more than 10 people should be congregating regardless if on public or private property. To file a complaint if you see violation in the future you can contact our non-emergency line at (850)-892-8111.
  1. Are there checkpoints at all roads leading into Florida?
At this time, the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Department of Transportation is standing up state checkpoints to ensure this EO is carried out. Florida Highway Patrol is assisting with the implementation and enforcement of checkpoints for motorists entering Florida on I-10 and I-95.
  1. If we came in contact with a person that is sick with all symptoms but has not been tested should we get tested or just self-quarantine?
CDC has guidance for who should be tested, but decisions about testing are at the discretion of state and local health departments and/or individual clinicians. Please contact your primary care physician or Walton County Florida Department of Health Department by calling 850- 892-8015
  1. Why does the rental house next door still have people from New York (or any other state) there when the governor has stopped all rental?
If you believe any licensee is operating contrary to the Governor’s Executive Order 20-71 or Executive Order 20-87, please report the information to DBPR using the below form: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/eo-complaints/

Executive Orders

04/01/2020

To view Executive Orders issued by Governor Ron Desantis regarding COVID-19, click the link below. https://www.flgov.com/2020-executive-orders/ 

Corona Virus Articles Provided by WCSO

A MESSAGE FROM WCSO REGARDING COVID-19 CASE REPORTING
WCSO TO USE FORFEITURE FUNDS TO PROVIDE FREE SAFETY MASKS TO THE PUBLIC
FLORIDA GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS ISSUES STATEWIDE STAY-AT-HOME ORDER
STATEMENT REGARDING AGENCY MEMBERS AFFECTED BY COVID-19
WALTON COUNTY BCC CLOSES BEACHES TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC; SHERIFF’S OFFICE CHARGED WITH ENFORCEMENT
WALTON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE STATEMENT REGARDING COVID-19