Village uses coordinated command to cope with COVID-19 issues

Economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdowns -- a priority for Key Biscayne staff, businesses and residents -- is being aided by the Economic Recovery Unit, part of the village’s Incident Command System, formed in April.

ICS is a standardized approach to the command, control and coordination of emergency response -- providing a common hierarchy for responders from multiple agencies. It can be plugged into any event, said Deputy Fire Chief Marcos A. Osorio, Fire Marshal, who also serves as Public Information Officer.

The Economic Recovery Unit, part of the ICS, consists of Tatyana Chiocchetti, executive director of the Key Biscayne Chamber of Commerce, and Mariana Dominguez-Hardie, senior executive assistant to the Director of Building, Zoning, Planning and Public Works.

Among the unit’s tasks during the crisis has been to make sure the business district is “kept up-to-date regarding the changes in safety protocols for retrofitting their business to adhere to the new normal,’’ Chiocchetti said.

To help come up with needed changes, the unit reports back to the village any feedback gathered from business owners via outreach, phone calls and surveys.

The Economic Recovery Unit came into play following the talk of a second closure of restaurants when the chamber facilitated a Zoom meeting with village officials and KB restaurateurs so they could express the concerns of the impact of a full restaurant re-closure, she said.

That exchange proved useful following Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez’ Executive Order that allowed outdoor dining. Gimenez took into account input from village officials via the League of Cities and the Association of Restaurants, she said.

The Economic Recovery Unit also helped facilitate Code Enforcement working with local restaurants interested in additional parking spaces, while simultaneously ensuring that barricades were put in place for safety reasons, she said.

In addition to the Economic Recovery Unit, the ICS consists of Condo Recovery, Finance-Admin, Parks and Recreation, Public Safety Unit, Operations, Planning, and Testing.

“This biggest part of it (ICS) is that you sort of divide and conquer based on the needs of your city,” Osorio said. “We have our internal concerns and external concerns which includes economic recovery which includes retail and restaurants. We continue moving forward with interchangeable positions.’’

This pandemic is fluid in terms of solutions needed to address the concerns of the community while helping the area recovery economically, he said.

“It’s balancing the community’s needs while creating an environment that focuses on safety and infectious awareness. It’s a big balance and everyone needs to do their part,’’ he said.