Pensacola Fire Department Available to Assist Businesses with Occupancy Adjustments
As part of Phase-1 of reopening businesses in Pensacola that were closed down by the coronavirus outbreak, merchants can get some advice on the limits under which they’re coming back.
“This service is provided as a courtesy of the city of Pensacola to the business community; you’re certainly welcome to contact the fire services,” said Mayor Grover Robinson, who in his weekly news conference read Executive Order 20-112 from Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“The order [covers] when it’s up to 25% in retail [stores] and restaurants,” said Robinson. Most restaurants have an occupancy load posted – occupancy is 50 persons or greater; however, most retailers do not have an occupancy load posted. It may not know that that 25% [limit] is.”
As part of the city’s COVID-19 recovery and community risk reduction, the Pensacola Fire Marshal’s Office is ready to assist business owners by helping them calculate their new 25% maximum capacity. Fire Marshal Annie Bloxson says the businesses should already have their occupancy limit posted.
“Therefore, they can calculate 25% of that, or they can call us and we’ll calculate it,” Broxson said. “But as far as going in and ensuring that they’re complying, we’re just hoping that the business owners are going to follow the governor’s directive.”
Regarding enforcement, Bloxson says that’s strictly an issue for Pensacola police. And, the other parts of the governor’s order for outside dining are fairly straightforward.
“As long as they maintain their distance from one another and just be cautious with hand-washing – even if you’re outside,” said Bloxson. “Yes, you can still wear your mask; just pull it down to have your dinner, your lunch or whatever. And if you want to sit and chit-chat with whoever you’re there with, pull your mask back up.”
And Bloxson reminds everyone – it’s not just about you.
“Don’t just think about yourself; think about someone else you may come in contact with that you could – not knowing you have symptoms – and then pass it on to someone else,” said Bloxson. “It’s just a matter of everybody being safe; think about someone else – our other loved ones and our family.”
Bloxson, a 27-year veteran of the Pensacola Fire Department, says this is the first time they’ve had to deal with a major pandemic, but adds that their mission remains the safety of Pensacolians.
“Not just for the building itself; it’s for those that’s working in those buildings; those that are entering in those buildings, the patrons of all these establishments,” Bloxson said. “With this COVID-19, this is just another alternative of a different type of life safety that we’re concerned with right now in the fire service.”
Businesses seeking help with their capacity monitoring can contact the Fire Marshal’s office at 436-5200, or online at email@example.com. And Fire Marshal Annie Bloxson had this final word.
“The business owners need to ensure that they’re in compliance with that 25 percent, and making sure that everyone is social distancing,” said Bloxson. “And if they follow the [state’s] guidelines and the CDC guidelines, it will be a positive outcome.
“But if not, we can set ourselves back.”