We are in our condo on Okaloosa Island along Florida's Emerald Coast and, in answer to your requests, we've put together a little video to show you where we are and our day-to-day life down here, where the infection rate from the coronavirus is still very low compared to other parts of the country. While the beaches are closed here along with most stores, there is a not a total lockdown or stay in place order and we can still take walks (and Bo to the dog park).
But the area is eerily quiet… as it should be if we want to minimize exposure. The string breakers were sent home when they closed the beaches and family vacations – which usually bring tens of thousands of vacationers to this area every Easter – have been cancelled.
To help keep tourists from bringing the virus in to the state, Florida's governor yesterday ordered the Highway Patrol to put checkpoints up on all the roads leading into Florida to urge out of staters to turn around and go back. He also ordered that all new vacation rentals be halted in the state for the next two weeks.
We love this area. Our condo is a rental unit that we use to supplement our retirement income and we usually come every year at this time to check it over and get it ready for the summer season, which starts around Ester and runs through mid August. We had planned to be traveling about now, headed in our RV towards Texas and New Mexico and ending up in Phoenix at an RV show in mid-April. But as the COVID-19 virus hit with its fury, unnecessary travel was strongly discouraged, the RV show was cancelled and we decided this was the best place for us to be.
So our Florida home is where we'll stay. We have beautiful weather, can still go to the pool and area stores are relatively well supplied. Like everyone else, we are avoiding close contact with people, staying in the condo or on the balcony as much as possible and making lots of phone calls to check up on family and friends.
We are going through all six seasons of Downton Abbey on Amazon Prime and doing a lot of reading. Bo's dog park is still open so it has become our major activity of the day. That, along with an evening walk and short visits to the grocery store a couple of times a week, are our only real outings. We push the elevator buttons with our knuckles, use hand sanitizer after touching any surfaces outside and, whenever we encounter people, stay at least six feet away.
We realize that compared to so many, we have it very nice here. We debated doing this video because we don't want anyone to think we are complaining or gloating. But since we have been sharing our lives with you all for so many years now, we realized that this part, too, needed to be out there.
As we keep saying, this will end. All those RV trips and plans we all have planned have not been cancelled… they are just postponed.
We hope that everyone is similarly hunkered down. This is not the time to be traveling.
Here's the video: