Phases: We go through them throughout life; infancy, toddlerhood, school days, courting, marriage, family time, empty nesting, retirement with its longed for Golden Years. This year has been a particularly difficult phase, and hardly golden. Instead it has been marked by isolation and boredom, trepidation and jangled nerves, division and confusion.

This month, October, begins with a full moon, and ends with a full moon. According to The Farmer’s Almanac: “Can the Moon change your luck? According to Moon lore, in many cases the full Moon brings good luck.” Let’s hope that is the case for this month with Phase 3 now in effect, and the phasing back in of The Villages lifestyle as we look for fresh ways to “Keep the Dream Alive.”

With all that has happened in our community this past year, I was happy when Governor DeSantis announced we would finally be able to move into Phase 3 of the plan to reopen the state in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

During that discussion, he said focusing on elderly and at-risk groups was more effective than blanket business closures. Because The Villages is comprised of a majority
percentage of those at-risk groups, our District, and The VHA, is continuing to take precautions to reopen safely.

Below is the official recap of what Phase 3 involves:

  • Removes state-level restrictions on businesses, such as restaurants.
  • Provides that no COVID-19 emergency ordinance may prevent an individual from working or operating a business, giving Floridians and business owners needed certainty and the ability to provide for themselves and their families.
  • Provides that restaurants may not be limited by a COVID-19 emergency order by any local government to less than 50% of their indoor capacity. If a restaurant is limited to less than 100% of its indoor capacity, such COVID-19 emergency order must satisfy the following:
    • Quantify the economic impact of each limitation or requirements on those restaurants; and
    • Explain why each limitation or requirement is necessary for public health.
  • Suspends all outstanding fines and penalties, and the collection of such moving forward, applied against individuals related to COVID-19. This includes fines for violating mask and/or social distancing ordinances.
  • For bars it will be up to local governments to determine how they handle capacity.

As I write this, I am well aware that while officially we have been given more leeway with activities and personal precautions, many of us will react differently. Some will welcome the lifting of restrictions with open arms, while others will take a more measured and cautious approach. But it is a start, and a time to think about “fresh starts” rather than dwelling on the “new normal” we have had to endure for several months.

The VHA will continue to keep you informed on our progress as an organization in resuming our regular programs and introducing new ones as we are able. For the most part we do not anticipate in-person meetings to get up to full speed until 2021. In November we are tentatively planning to resume our popular Golf Cart Safety program in person. Despite being held via Zoom the past couple of months, and continuing with that format in October, it has been well-attended.

In December The VHA’s annual year-end General Meeting will be a virtual one with more information and viewing details available in the November Voice. The featured speaker will be Ed Jimenez of UF Health The Villages.

The annual Hospital Auxiliary Foundation fundraising black tie event has been cancelled, but in its place, The VHA has been invited to join them on February 13, 2021 to host a virtual fundraiser. It will feature a silent auction to benefit the Hospital Auxiliary and The VHA. High-end auction items thus far include a golf cart, pet store package, and pool maintenance package. Other auction donations are being solicited and your contribution is welcome.

Sponsors/Volunteers are also needed to host house parties to include up to 8-10 people at 15 separate homes. Food for the house parties will be donated. The virtual silent auction will be viewed at the same time in each home. See event details on Pages 2 & 3 of this edition of The Voice, with more information coming in future issues.

Continue to keep up with our “Fresh Start Phase,” and if you would like to be part of our efforts to continue to advocate on behalf of The Villages residents, contact us to get involved. Who should you contact? See the appropriate personnel listings on Page 2.