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Walton County declared a state of emergency last week.


Here’s what life looks like now:


—The Walton County Board of County Commissioners has passed an emergency ordinance closing all Walton County beaches to the public.


—Most Walton County BCC Departmental offices have been closed to public access. We will be answering phones, emails and using online tools.


—All Walton County public libraries have been closed.


—All State Parks are Closed



—The Senior Center in DeFuniak Springs, located on College Ave. has been closed and will not reopen until further notice.


—All Walton County Volunteer Board meetings have been canceled for the remainder of March and the month of April. At this time, these meetings are expected to continue in May.


RELATED: CORONAVIRUS NWF - What’s open & what’s not? - A list of closures and what is still open


—Issued Local State of Emergency on March 16th, 2020 effective at 2:00 p.m.


—Walton County Board of County Commissioners (WCBCC), the WCBCC approved a motion to direct the County Attorney to draw up an emergency ordinance to close the beaches in Walton County. At their direction, the County Attorney's office will work on the ordinance and bring it to the board The board at 9:00 am on Thursday March 19th as part of the recessed Emergency Meeting.


—The Walton County Housing Agency will continue to serve the tenants and landlords on the program via email and phone. Until further notice, the office will be closed to walk-in visits.


—All County youth sports programs are canceled. This includes the use of any recreational fields by independent league sports.


—Per Governor Executive Order - Restaurants in Florida will be able to stay open but only be allowed to fill to half capacity and all tables must be at least 6 feet apart. All Florida bars and nightclubs are to close beginning 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17th and must remain closed for 30 days. Cancellation of all BCC and TDC permitted outdoor events and beach activity ordinance special events.


—Cancellation of all work-related travel outside the county for BCC employees without special permission from Director and County Administration.


—Suspension of the rental of all public facilities.


—Extended all current dog beach permits for 8 weeks. No new permit processing until June 1st.


—Extended all driving on the beach permits until August 1st. Beach permit lottery application process will begin June 1st.


—Walton County Tax Collector – Updated 3/23/2020


Due to the COVID-19 virus, all Walton County Tax Collector lobbies are closed to the public. Our online services, phone services, drop boxes and mail services are still available to the public. Our Customer Care Office will remain open and ready to assist you at 850-892-8121, Monday – Friday 8:30am-4pm.


—Walton County Supervisor of Elections - Updated 3/23/2020


Beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, out of an abundance of caution, the Walton County Supervisor of Elections Office is closing the South Walton Annex Branch Office in Santa Rosa Beach. The DeFuniak Springs Office in the Walton County Courthouse will remain open to the public with limited staff.


We encourage citizens and candidates to follow the CDC recommendations, and to utilize the Supervisor of Elections website at www.VoteWalton.com to perform many of the same functions that can be done in-person, such as registering to vote, confirming or updating your registration status, requesting a vote-by-mail ballot, filing campaign reports, and more. Staff will remain available by phone at (850) 892-8112 during regular business hours.


The previously scheduled public canvassing board meeting for the Presidential Preference Primary will continue as noticed on Friday, March 27,2020 at 4:30 pm.



—Walton County Clerk of Courts – Updated 3/23/2020


All weekend sentences in the Walton County jail will be suspended from March 20, 2020 to April 20, 2020. All other conditions of the defendant's sentence will remain in full force and effect.


Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles T. Canady issued an Administrative Order (AOSC20-13) on March 13, 2020, suspending all jury trials in Florida’s Court System starting Monday, March 16, 2020, through Friday, March 27, 2020.


Anyone with a summons for jury duty dated between March 16, 2020, and March 27, 2020, are not required to appear as jury trials during this time have been cancelled. If you are unsure if your summons is impacted by this Order, please call 850-892-8115 to speak to a Deputy Clerk.


Walton County Clerk & Comptroller will continue to mail out summons forms between March 16th and March 27th to avoid delay to future court processes once the suspension of all jury trials is lifted. If you receive a summons during this period, the Walton County Clerk & Comptroller recommends calling 850-892-8115 to confirm whether you are required to appear. All scheduled court hearings and appearances remain in effect unless specifically excused by the court.


The Walton County Clerk and Comptroller's Office is currently open to serve the public. Additionally, many Clerk services can be accomplished online and on the phone. The following services are offered online:


For a complete listing of changes and cancellations, please visit our website at: https://clerkofcourts.co.walton.fl.us


—Court updates & changes:


Monday, March 23rd - Family Law Hearings: Attorneys should contact the Judicial Office to make arrangements to appear by phone, or hearings will have to be cancelled.


Tuesday, March 24th - Felony Plea / Arraignment Docket as scheduled


Wednesday, March 25th - Domestic Violence Docket as scheduled


Thursday, March 26th - Felony Pre-Trials Docket Cancelled


Small Claim Final Hearings and Eviction Hearings scheduled for March 19, 2020, as well as Eviction Hearings scheduled for March 23, 2020 have been cancelled.


Traffic Infraction hearings scheduled on April 1st and 15th are cancelled. Notices will be mailed when hearings are rescheduled.


Felony Pretrial hearings scheduled for March 26th are being cancelled and rescheduled to April 23, 2020.


The April 7th DeFuniak Springs small claim docket has been rescheduled for June 8, 2020. The original times for each case will remain the same.


In accordance with Administrative Order No. 2020-08, all hearings in Family Law, Child Support, County Civil, Civil Traffic, Circuit Civil and Probate not deemed mission critical shall be rescheduled, postponed or cancelled unless such proceedings can be conducted by telephone. This applies to everything that is scheduled through April 20, 2020. This date could be extended and will be determined later if necessary. Misdemeanor Docket call scheduled for Friday, March 20, 2020 has been cancelled, and cases will be continued to the Misdemeanor Pretrial Docket on April 8, 2020.


Online Services Offered:


E-Notify - Using an automated system, registered users can receive free text and email reminders of upcoming criminal court events. More information is available on Clerk’s website home page.


Online Court Record Access – Public can request to view cases/redacted filings online. Please visit the Clerk’s website – select Public Records – then select Court Records. If a record is unavailable online, please follow further instructions specified under Public Records tab – then select Offline Public Record Request Court Related.


TurboCourt DIY Services - Customer fee-based form preparation service, currently $10.40 per petition, now available through TurboCourt for Family Law and Landlord Tenant Disputes; however, there are no fees required when using Turbo Court forms for preparation of Domestic Violence Injunction petitions. More information is available on Clerk’s website – select TurboCourt DIY.


Florida Courts E-Filing Portal – More information and instructions are available on the Clerk’s website – select E-Filing tab. The link is: https://www.myflcourtaccess.com/


Self Service Forms and Instructions are located on the Clerk’s website – Select Court Services – then select Self Service.


Pay Walton County traffic citations online - Traffic infractions may be paid within 30 days of violation online at https://www.myfloridacounty.com/.


Pay Walton County non-criminal and county ordinance violations within 30 days of receipt online at https://www.myfloridacounty.com/courtpay/?county=66.


E-Recording is the secure online submission of documents to the Clerk & Comptroller’s office for the recording in the Official Records. All document types can be recorded online at any of our e-Recording services through the following vendors:


CSC www.erecording.com 866-652-0111


EPN www.goepn.om 888-325-3365


Simplifile www.simplifile.com 800-460-5657


The Clerk & Comptroller's Office cannot recommend or endorse vendors. Documents for e-Recording must be submitted through a third-party vendor. Recording customers should research vendors and determine which one best fits their needs.


—Passport Updates:


Due to public health measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus, all Passport Agencies are closed to the public until further notice, and appointments will not be accepted.


Expedited service (2-3 weeks) will not be available and customers will be unable to submit passport fees that include the $60 expedite fee until further notice.


If a customer applied for a passport and requested expedited service on or before March 18, 2020, Passport Services will honor the commitment of 2-3 weeks door-to-door for expedited service. Routine service (6-8 weeks) may be delayed.


Customers may continue to apply for their passport at Application Acceptance Facilities currently providing passport services or may renew their passport through the mail.


If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Miami Passport Agency Customer Service at miamiaf@state.gov.


—Walton County Property Appraiser’s Office – 3/23/2020


The Property Appraiser's Office announces: Office lobbies closed to the public until further notice; curbside service available in conjunction with the Tax Collector's office at both locations; contact the office at 850-892-8123 for the DeFuniak Springs Office and 850-267-4500 for South Walton Annex; The Property Appraiser's website, www.waltonpa.comis available or email to waltonpa@co.walton.fl.usfor assistance..


The health and safety of our citizens and employees remains of utmost importance. We aim to continue to provide first-rate customer service at our office locations and encourage the use of the property appraiser’s website, www.waltonpa.com . You may contact the Property Appraiser’s office by phone, 850-892-8123, or 850-267-4500, or by email, waltonpa@co.walton.fl.us


—Walton County Sheriff's Office – Updated 3/23/2020


In order to limit potential COVID-19 exposure to our residents and to our staff, we will be temporarily suspending fingerprinting services at all Walton County Sheriff's Office locations UNLESS REQUIRED BY STATUTE.


All weekend sentences in the Walton County jail will be suspended from March 20, 2020 to April 20, 2020. All other conditions of the defendant's sentence will remain in full force and effect.


—City of DeFuniak Springs – Updated 3/23/2020


Also, all City-owned parks and public buildings now closed to the public.


Water & Natural Gas Cut-Off Notices Extended in the City of DeFuniak Springs for March for delinquent payments.


City of DeFuniak Springs working to partner with the public to reduce spread of virus by limiting person-to-person contact when paying their utility bill. City is requests citizens to voluntarily pay utility bills online at www.defuniaksprings.net or by paying with a check deposited into the payment dropbox behind city hall. Citizens can also pay with their credit or debit card online or can call (850) 892-8500, then select option 2.


—South Walton Fire Department – Updated 3/22/2020


All SWFD offices, including all fire stations, service centers and our fire district headquarters in Santa Rosa Beach, are now closed to the public until further notice in order to preserve critical Fire/EMS services. The public is discouraged from visiting any of the district’s five (5) fire stations unless you have a fire or medical emergency.


All public education programs, special events, and fire station tours have been cancelled until further notice.


The Board of Fire Commissioner meeting scheduled for April 13th, 2020 at 4pm will be evaluated in the weeks ahead and held dependent on the current risk to the public.


Beach Bonfires - Beach Bonfires have been suspended until further notice. This includes all annual and temporary permits.


Construction Plan Reviews - Please continue to drop off any construction plans for review at the front of the SWFD Headquarters Building located at 911 North County Highway 393 Mon-Fri 8am-4pm by placing in the designated drop-off box. Your plans will be processed as usual and you will be notified via email once the review is completed.


Impact Fee Receipts - Impact fees will be processed online only. You will need to submit a completed Walton County Building Permit Application electronically through info@swfd.org. Once we receive your e-mailed request, we will process the impact fee. Payment for impact fees will only be accepted remotely via credit card or by mailed check at this time. Once payment has been remitted, we will email your SWFD Impact Fee Receipt.


Emergencies – As always, we are here to serve you. If you are experiencing an emergency, please dial 911.


—Walton County School District – Updated 3/22/2020


Starting Monday, March 23, 2020, five Walton County School District sites will begin to provide food for children ages 1 to 18.


Paxton


Mossy Head School


Maude Saunders Elementary


Walton Middle School


Freeport High School


These five sites will provide a grab and go meal in the school’s car rider line. A child does not have to live in the school zone to receive food at the above sites. If possible, if parents should please visit the site nearest to their child’s school. For example, if a child attends Dune Lakes Elementary, a non-distribution site, parents may pick up a meal at Freeport High School, a distribution site. Children must be present in the car to receive a free meal.


School sites have been chosen based on specific criteria as put forth by the Florida Department of Agriculture. WCSD hopes to open additional as permitted.


The schedule for food pick up at the five sites above are as follows:


Monday, March 23 from 11:00 a.m.– 1:00 p.m. – lunch provided


Tuesday, March 24 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – lunch provided and next day’s breakfast


Wednesday, March 25 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – lunch provided and next day’s breakfast


Thursday, March 26 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – lunch provided and next day’s breakfast


Friday, March 27 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – lunch provided and next day’s breakfast


Starting Wednesday, March 25th, food distribution will also begin via bus transportation. Over 95 bus stops will be put into place throughout the Walton County School District from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and look similar to the district’s summer routes. VIEW SCHEDULE - https://www.co.walton.fl.us/DocumentCenter/View/38030. Buses will spend 10 minutes at each stop for parents to receive breakfast and lunch at the bus stop instead of visiting school sites. School sites will also remain open as well. More information about bus routes will be provided on the district’s websites.


As the WCSD provides meals, please know that health and safety protocols will be taken seriously. All individuals preparing and delivering meals will follow CDC guidelines. All school campuses will be staffed with a small team beginning on Monday, March 23. Parents may enter the school’s safe and secure lobby based on CDC guidelines regarding gatherings of 10 people or less. If visitors are sick, they are encouraged to call the school instead of visiting.


The Walton County School District does have an online system to answer any of your COVID-19/School Closure related questions. Please click on the "Contact Us" tab on the right side of their website to submit a question or concern. District staff are available to answer questions over Spring Break. Superintendent A. Russell Hughes wants to thank everyone for their support and understanding this past week. In addition to food distribution, the WCSD will release an Instructional Continuity Plan for students this weekend, which will also start Monday, March 23rd.