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President’s Message

President Michael A. Fischler

On Tuesday, March 10th my wife, Anita, drove to Orlando to watch our  Grandson while our daughter went out of town for business and son-in law worked. I booked a Greyhound bus to join Anita there on Friday, so we could drive home together on Sunday. As the week progressed and the news about the spread of Coronavirus heightened, my family voiced their concerns about me taking a bus. Accordingly, playing it safe and heeding family concerns, I decided to stay local and visit my mother for Friday dinner. I spoke with her at 3:00 PM and confirmed
we would dine at 5:15 PM. I left my office at 4:30 PM and arrived at the senior living facility at 5:00 PM, where the guard at the gate handed me a slip of paper titled “Coronavirus recautions”. It advised that everyone had to enter through the main entrance and visitors would have to sign a log and take a brief questionnaire. When I walked in the main entrance, I was met by a staff employee who informed me that I could not enter. I inquired as to why and was told that the Governor signed an Order at 4:00 PM prohibiting visitors from entering senior living facilities. I called my Mother, who was waiting for me in the lounge area and was unaware of the Governor’s Order. I was able to meet and talk with her outside the entrance for a few minutes. That same day, my children learned that my grandson’s pre-school was closing for several weeks due to the virus. My children decided, since no sitter was available for the next week, to send my Grandson home with Anita and they would pick him up over the weekend.

In a matter of days, now weeks, our lives have changed. “Coronavirus” (COVID-19) now dominates the news and a pandemic crisis affecting our community, state, country and the world has arrived. Our routines and activities have been altered, changed and reshaped. Every day as I started drafting this message, new rules were imposed: airline travel and public gatherings became more restricted; schools, courthouses, restaurants and beaches were closed; and other drastic steps were being taken to stop the spread of the virus.

The Broward County Bar Association, through our Executive Director, Braulio Rosa, along with the Executive Committee, immediately took precautionary steps, postponing all BCBA events, CLEs and activities and coordinated with Chief Judge Jack Tuter to provide accurate and updated information to the legal community. Foremost in the BCBA’s mind is the health, safety and welfare of our members, the legal community and all of our stakeholders. If you need any assistance or advice, please contact Braulio or any BCBA executive committee or board member.

With the Governor’s Order, I can no longer visit my Mother in the senior living facility and many of you have experienced personal situations and hardships that are greater than mine and I wish you the best in dealing with them. Our clients, many individuals and businesses are feeling economic stress and look to us, in the legal profession, for advice and guidance. Although there is no need to panic, we need to stay informed, be prepared and reach out and help those needing assistance. One article I read suggested that we support our restaurants by buying gift certificates and that we set up scheduled telephone/facetime time to have “happy hours” with family and friends, so that we stay connected.

Last month I wrote about giving hugs and handshakes when we see each other and this month we are relegated to giving elbow and foot bumps. So, each month, when in my President’s Message I ask you to “be safe, be happy and take care of yourself and those around you”, this month it is more applicable than ever!