This content is being provided for free as a public service to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. Please support local journalism by subscribing to the Northwest Florida Daily News.
Local law enforcement officials said that with a little cooperation from the public everyone should be able to weather Gov. Ron DeSantis’s call for Floridians to shelter in place without undo conflict.
►RELATED: Florida coronavirus update: DeSantis issues statewide stay-at-home order
“If everyone just cooperates and practices social distancing, you are not going to have a problem with law enforcement,” said Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley.
The Sheriff’s Office does not foresee major issues with citizens ignoring a directive designed to keep people safe, agency spokeswoman Michele Nicholson said. DeSantis is seeking to halt the spread of deadly COVID-19.
►RELATED: What is considered ‘essential’ in Gov. DeSantis’ stay-at-home order?
“Everyone knows this is serious and we have to continue to look out for each other,” she said. “We are in this for the long haul so we’re asking everyone to be patient, read the documents or follow the news media on the specifics of what this order entails.”
Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson said his office will “carry out the order with common sense, courtesy, and professionalism.”
“At the end of the day each situation is different and what we're working towards is gaining voluntary compliance while ensuring public safety,” Adkinson said. “We will be as nice to people as they will let us be. An individual is not more important than the whole in this situation. Personal responsibility is critical."
The Crestview Police Department will seek to educate concerning the governor’s executive order before considering enforcement as an option, said Maj. Andrew Schneider.
“We are encouraging everyone to ’stay home and stay safe.’ As for the enforcement, it will only be necessary in circumstances of intentional disregard to the orders or in circumstances that pose a threat to the public,” Schneider said. “We will respond to those circumstances on a case by case basis.”
Fort Walton Beach Officers will continue to encourage city residents to follow CDC guidelines and discourage crowds of 10 or more, whether they be on public or private property, to disperse, said Police Chief Robert Bage.