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Coronavirus Information

Coronavirus Information

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The City of Ocala is committed to the health and safety of the citizens of Ocala and Marion County.  The City is currently working with state and local health departments, along with Marion County officials to navigate the evolution of the Coronavirus situation. 

We have implemented measures to ensure proper sanitation occurs in our city buildings, especially those where the public is welcomed.   

The following offices will reopen Monday, May 18, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. City staff located in these buildings continue to be available by phone, 352-629-2489, or via email listed below. 

City Offices Currently Reopened to the Public

  • City Hall, 110 SE Watula Ave. 
    • Office of the Mayor  
    • City Manager’s Office, CMO@ocalafl.org 
    • City Clerk’s Office, Clerk@ocalafl.org 
    • Human Resources/Risk Management, HRRisk@ocalafl.org   
    • Procurement, Vendors@ocalafl.org  
  • Ocala Electric Utility, OEU@ocalafl.org  
  • Ocala Fire Rescue Administration, Fire@ocalafl.org  
  • Ocala International Airport Terminal, Airport@ocalafl.org  
  • Public Works, pubworks@ocalafl.org  

The following offices will be open with restricted access to the public beginning Monday, May 18.  Visitors must schedule an appointment before coming to city offices or staff can be reached by phone or email listed below.  Walk-in services will be unavailable.

  • Community Development Services, CommunityDevelopment@ocalafl.org 
    • Community Programs:  352-629-8231 
    • Economic Development:  352-629-8381 
    • Office of Homeless Prevention:  352-401-2822
  • Cultural Arts, 352-629-8447 • Engineering, 352-351-6772 
  • Growth Management, gmd@ocalafl.org  
    • Code Enforcement, 352-629-8309 
    • Permitting, 352-629-8421 o Building, 352-629-8421 
    • Planning, 352-629-8421 
  • Ocala Fiber Network, 352-401-6900   
  • Recreation and Parks Administration, 352-368-5517 
  • Water Resources, 352-351-6772 

Do you have City related questions?  Customer service representatives will be available by phone at 352-629-2489, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

In addition to this resource page, please visit our social media pages for updates.

City of Ocala Facebook

City of Ocala Twitter

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Florida Department of Health 

If you have questions about the Coronavirus, the Florida Department of Health has established a hotline to answer questions:  1-866-779-6121.

The Florida Department of Health has compiled a list of frequently asked questions about COVID-19.

Need to know how to prepare for the Coronavirus? Here's a checklist to get ready.

Marion County Citizen Information Line

The Marion County Citizen Information Line has been activated and will remain active and staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7-days a week until it is determined it is no longer needed. 

This line is to field all non-medical phone calls related to COVID-19. All medical calls will be referred to Marion County Health Department COVID -19 Hotline at 352-644-2590. 

Federal Program Information 

Need more information about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act? The CARES Act establishes new programs and processes throughout various federal agencies. Senator Rick Scott has compiled a list of frequently asked questions about the new economic relief program.

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TESTING LOCATION

Hampton Center

Ocala Fire Rescue paramedics will be staffing a temporary COVID-19 testing site at the Hampton Center, 1501 W Silver Springs Blvd.  Testing will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., until further notice.

Testing will be for symptomatic patients, by appointment only.

To schedule an appointment, please contact the Florida Department of Health in Marion County at 352-644-2590.

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UPDATES

Public Meetings

Due to recommendations for limiting public gatherings, on April 7 the City of Ocala began conducting the regularly scheduled Ocala City Council meetings through a virtual forum.  Following Governor DeSantis’ announcement for Florida’s Phase One Reopening plan, City leaders determined in person City Council meetings should resume, with limited seating and enhanced protocols in place. These meetings will continue to be available through the virtual forum until further notice.  
 
As the city begins its phased-in approach to opening public buildings, the Ocala City Council will return to council chambers beginning Tuesday, May 19, 5 p.m. at City Hall, 110 SE Watula Ave. Council members and staff will continue to observe the six feet physical distancing rules, and members of the public will be asked to maintain six feet physical distancing within the audience. Presenters making public comment at the podium are strongly encouraged to wear a mask and not touch the podium when speaking.

For a full list of meetings and their agendas: Click here.

Note: Zoom links will be listed in the top left corner of each individual meeting agenda

Access to audio recordings can be found here:  Meeting and Agendas

In an effort to accommodate all interested parties wishing to participate in the upcoming Ocala City Council Meeting, Tuesday, May 19, 5 p.m. the public may utilize the following updated options for contributing to the meeting:   
 
Email 
 
If a participant would like to submit questions in advance of the city council meeting, they may do so no later than 3:00 pm, on the day of the city council meeting at Citycouncil@ocalafl.org. 
 
In-person 
 
The City will limit seating based on current social distancing guidelines, which requires six feet in between seats.  Seats will be available on a first come, first served basis until safe maximum capacity is reached. Capacity limits will be as follows: 24 visitors in council chambers, ten visitors in the secondfloor lobby, and ten visitors in the downstairs lobby of City Hall to view the meeting via television monitors. If participants want to make a verbal comment during the city council meeting, they must be present on the second-floor lobby or in the council chambers; otherwise, they will be able to submit a question or comment via the Q & A feature in the Zoom meeting. 
 
Alternatively, the City will provide a large projection screen with audio capabilities at the Ocala Downtown Market, 310 SE Third Street. The City will accommodate any attendees; however, any persons exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted to enter the premises. Those attending at this location will be able to view the live meeting. 
 
Online 
 
To ask a question or make a comment via computer, laptop, or smartphone:  
 
Online participants will not be able to make verbal comments; however, they will be able to utilize the Q & A feature to post a question or comment. 
 
-Visit the Zoom website to download and install the Zoom software. 

-After installing Zoom, you will be prompted to launch the application.

-The link to the Zoom meeting is located on the City Council Agenda under Meeting Information.

-Enter first and last name in the “your name” field.  

-Enter the email address in the appropriate field; click join.  

-A prompt will appear to join with computer audio or to dial in via telephone for audio. 

-Use the “RAISE HAND” icon to provide public comments and enter the question or comment in the Q & A section of the chat.  

Ocala Electric Utility

The City of Ocala Municipal Services temporary no disconnect policy will expire Monday, June 15.  The disconnection policy for past due balances resumes Tuesday, June 16. Customers having trouble paying their utility bill, for any reason, must contact a service representative to make necessary payment arrangements.   

Payments can be made at any self-service kiosk, City of Ocala website, Fidelity Express, Western Union, Amscot, and MoneyGram locations. Additional payment options and other online tools such as residential start and stop service, residential service transfers, and payment extensions can be found at www.ocalafl.org. Payments can also be made via the automated phone system at 844-286-1785.

As the disconnection policy goes into effect on June 16, the City warns customers to be suspicious of callers demanding immediate payment using any prepaid card, debit or credit card, or wire transfer. Never share personal or financial information with anyone that calls or emails you. Never meet a stranger in person to make a payment. If you believe there is a problem with your account call the City of Ocala Municipal Services Customer Service at 352-629-2489.

Payments can be made using the following resources:

  • Pay My Bill
  • Self-service kiosks
  • Fidelity Express and MoneyGram locations
  • Automated phone system at 844-286-1785

OEU customers will see a 12% reduction in cost on the electric portion of their Municipal Service Statement for the months of May and June. This reduction is due to the lowering of the Power Cost Adjustment (PCA). The PCA is a portion of the electric rate. The PCA is the mechanism by which the fluctuation of fuel costs are adjusted and passed on to the customer. We are able to pass these savings on through June 30, 2020, to help assist customers financially during COVID-19.

The disconnections of services are suspended through June 15, 2020.

Ocala Fiber Network

Customers that are currently utilizing the Ocala Fiber Network can rest assured that we are maintaining a continuous state of operational readiness, security and overall performance on our network.  Ocala Fiber recognizes the potential impact to our customers and their need to stay connected.  Staff will continue to maintain 24/7 support through internet connectivity, which includes managing the increased bandwidth demand. 

 For service questions:

Growth Management 

Citizens needing to utilize the Growth Management Department may use the following sources:

  • Permit applications are available online (portal includes payment of fees)
  • Development plans online submission form
  • Electronic plan reviews are available online 

Questions pertaining to permitting and licensing can be emailed to building@ocalafl.org or call 352-629-8421.

Planning and zoning applications and questions can be emailed to zoning@ocalafl.org.

All inspections are scheduled online or by phone at 352-629-8421.

Community Development Services 

The Community Development department encompasses multiple divisions while serving the public.  These include Economic development, Community programs and Office of Homeless Prevention.  These offices will remain closed to the public until further notice, however, staff may be reached Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by email at CommunityDevelopment@ocalafl.org.

Ocala Police Department 

In the effort to reduce exposure of COVID-19, the Ocala Police Department has closed the front desk and lobby to the public. There will no public entry point allowed in police headquarters. All scheduled events in the Community Room have been cancelled until further notice.

Police Public Records Request:

  • By phone, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. - 352-369-7090
  • Email:  opdrecords@ocalapd.org 
  • Online Records Request

To reduce citizen and officer exposure, non-emergency calls will be taken over the phone.  An officer will provide a follow-up call via the phone for all non-emergencies.

All in-person calls for service will be made outside the home or business.  Officers arriving at the scene will ask individuals to adhere to the social distancing guidelines and may ask preliminary health questions to lessen their exposure in high risk situations.

Ocala Fire Rescue

Ocala Fire Rescue is amending protocols and procedures to align with Coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention standards recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). To ensure social distancing and minimize unnecessary interactions, the following measures will be in effect immediately.

All seven fire station remain closed to the public.

Fire incident report requests:

  • By phone, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., 352-629-8306
  • Email:  fire@ocalafl.org
  • Online Records Request
  • Hard-copy requests available at 3001 NE 21st St., a request must be made via phone prior to arrival to minimize outside contact. 

All special details have been cancelled until further notice.

Pre-screening and self-reporting of signs and symptoms associated with COVID-19 are in place for all fire personnel.

Ocala Fire Rescue (OFR) has released Community Connect, a pre-planning tool for fire and medical emergencies. Using a secure platform where residents share critical information, OFR aims to increase the rate of successful outcomes during emergent events - including calls arising from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. OFR is encouraging the public to not only register but complete the COVID-19 self-reporting module.

Benefiting from Community Connect is free and easy. City of Ocala residents can visit www.OcalaFire.org, or the Community Connect page, to enroll and take the first step to help stop the COVID-19 spread.

Procurement

The Procurement and Contracting office ensures the City of Ocala receives quality goods and services for the best price, promotes vendor relations, and negotiates, drafts, and executes contracts.  For information, visit bidocala.com or by email at Vendors@ocalafl.org. 

Public Works

Residential and commercial sanitation and recycling collection will continue as scheduled. For general sanitation collection questions, customers are encouraged to call our 24-hour hotline 352-351-6698. For specific sanitation questions, residential customers may call 352-351-6697 and commercial customers 352-351-6740. 

Traffic banner applicants are permitted to pick up and drop-off banners at the front door of the Public Works department office, however, a phone call is requested before arrival.  Customers may call 352-351-6733 or email pubworks@ocalafl.org.

SunTran

Our SunTran bus systems remains operational for citizens relying on transportation to work and to pick up supplies needed for home. 

Bus services at the downtown bus station will begin at 7:10 a.m. and end at 6:50 p.m.  This includes the green, purple, blue, orange and yellow service routes. Service on the red route, departing from the Marion County Health Department, will now begin at 7:43 a.m. and end at 7:23 p.m.

Beginning April 6,  additional safety measures will be implemented to encourage responsible social distancing on all SunTran buses. 

  • Rear door only boarding and exiting the bus
  • Only passengers with accessibility/mobility issues may request use of the front door to access the ramp
  • SunTran will reduce the number of seats by 50% on each bus 

SunTran is actively responding to health protocols and will continue to adapt to the needs of employees and passengers. Each bus receives daily cleanings, which includes disinfecting surfaces. Operators wipe down high touch areas two to four times each shift to maintain a healthy environment. Commercial grade disinfectant is currently being used each night on all in-service buses. 

For more information, please contact the SunTran at 352-401-6999 or visit https://www.suntran.org/home

Water Resources Department

The Water Resources Department is continuing to follow all Florida Department of Environmental Protection mandates providing customers safe, high quality drinking water.  If customers have any questions relating to their drinking water quality, need to report a leak or are interested in discovering water conservation practices during this time, they can call 352-351-6772 (24-hours a day).  Additional water information can be found on the Ocala Water Resources department page. 

CLOSURES/CANCELLATIONS/POSTPONEMENTS

Community Facilities

The City of Ocala Recreation and Parks Department will begin a phased approach to reopening parks for individual and non-organized sports use within the city limits. The “Safer at Home” order issued by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis expires Thursday, April 30, allowing municipalities to begin the reopening process in phases.

Activities such as walking, jogging and bicycling in parks will continue to be allowed. Team sports, organized activities or groups are still prohibited. The six-feet physical distancing rule must always be maintained, and face coverings are recommended in accordance with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) directions. 

Tennis Facilities:

Friday, May 1, public tennis and racquetball courts in parks will re-open.  Residents utilizing public courts must adhere to the following guidelines for court play:

  • Singles play only
  • Only every other court will be available for use to ensure safe social distancing
  • Public restrooms will remain closed
  • Modified play rules will be posted at each site
  • Park Rangers will monitor play while patrolling to ensure safe practices are followed

Monday, May 4, the Fort King Tennis Center, 3301 E Fort King St., will re-open. Based on current health guidelines, the following restrictions will be implemented:

  • Hours of operation will be Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Singles play only
  • Pro Shop closed; those registered to play must enter through side gate where staff will check them in. 
  • Court reservations will be accepted by phone only. No walk-ins. Players should call 352-629-8453 for court reservation policies and to schedule a reservation. They will then be instructed how to make an online payment. Only online payments will be accepted.
  • An empty court or common area is required next to a used court. This will be managed by the facility operator.
  • No congregating by players before or after play.
  • No food or beverage services will be available, including ice and on-court water coolers.
  • Management will monitor all play to ensure safe practices are being followed.

Ocala Skate Park:

Monday, May 4, the Ocala Skate Park, 517 NE Ninth St., will reopen with limited access and restrictions to ensure that social distancing requirements are being observed in the interest of participant safety.

  • Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; reservation required.
  • Reservations for each week will open the Monday prior and can be made Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Participants must call (352) 368-5525 to reserve a skate time and will be allowed a one-hour skate session per week.  Each caller may reserve a skate time for one or two skaters in the same time slot, but the name of each skater must be provided and verifiable upon arrival.
  • Only two skaters will be permitted to use the facility at a time. 
  • On-site staff will check in registered skaters and monitor compliance with distancing requirements. No on-site reservations will be accepted.
  • Participants must remain in their vehicles or in the parking lot until their designated skate time. Loitering near the entrance or in groups in the parking lot will not be permitted.
  • Participants must show proof of identification that matches the reservation to gain access. (Student ID, Florida ID Card, driver’s license or other identification that includes a picture and name is acceptable)
  • Participants under 16 may have one non-skating parent or guardian present with them during their session. No other spectators will be permitted.
  • No public restrooms will be available.
  • All other posted skatepark rules and regulations apply.
  • In the event of rain, the park will close, and skate sessions will not be rescheduled. Participants must call to reserve another day and time.
  • The City will continue to evaluate the skate park operation and update policies as the CDC recommendations are relaxed.

The following city operated facilities remain closed until further notice:

  • Eighth Avenue Activity Center, 830 NE Eighth Ave. 
  • Barbara Washington Adult Activity Center, 210 NW 12th Ave. 
  • Fort King National Historic Landmark Visitors Center, 3925 E Fort King St.  (The park itself remains open)
  • Discovery Center, 701 NE Sanchez Ave. 
  • Citizens’ Circle Splash Pad, SE Osceola Ave.
  • Lillian Bryant Splash Pad, 2200 NW 17th Pl.
  • E.D. Croskey Community Center, 1510 NW Fourth St. 
  • Lillian Bryant Community Center, 2200 NW 17th Pl.
  • Jervey Gantt Aquatic Fun Center, 2390 SE 36th Ave.
  • Hampton Aquatic Fun Center, 255 NW 16th Ave.

Most amenities at parks will remain closed including playgrounds, basketball courts, recreation centers and swimming pools. Future decisions regarding the re-opening of recreational facilities will be made using a phased approach and contingent upon the ability to comply with social distancing recommendations along with new or emerging information regarding COVID-19 cases.

For more information, please contact the City of Ocala Recreation and Parks Department at 352-368-5517. 

The following public park amenities will close until further notice.

  • Playgrounds
  • Pools
  • Splash Pads

City of Ocala public parks will remain open during this time; however, playground areas will be closed until further notice. Citizens are encouraged to practice social distancing and implement “Best Practices for Play” when bringing families to public parks. If you must go to the park, avoid high traffic areas that may heighten your risk for exposure when interacting with others.

Letty Towles Dog Park will remain open and fall under the same guidelines as a public park. Visitors should practice the same physical distancing requirements as other public areas. Rangers are monitoring and will address any issues.

The dog park will maintain it's normal business hours which is 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and is closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

As a reminder, children under the age of 12 are not permitted inside the dog park. Families with young children (under 12) may take their dog to Jervey Gantt Park, however, all dogs must be on a leash at all times outside the dog park area.

For more information, please call the City of Ocala Recreation and Parks Department at 352-368-5517.

 

Press Releases

The City of Ocala will continually provide updates via press releases

 

RESOURCES

COVID-19 Toolkit

Florida Department of Health Map

Florida Department of Health Newsroom

Center for Disease Control (CDC)

World Health Organization (WHO)

Marion County Government 

Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership

Code Red Alert System

Career Source -Reemployment Assistance

Internet Resources for Low and Fixed Income Household

Central Florida Community Action Agency