On Wednesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a statewide stay-at-home order to slow the spread of coronavirus. Federal and local pressure mounted for him to abandon the county-by-county approach he had implemented.
The order takes effect Friday morning, just after midnight. You can read it below.
DeSantis told reporters that he is issuing the order after consulting with President Trump and White House advisers, who have said that Americans need to stay home throughout April.
DeSantis’ order exempts attending religious services. That’s contrary to a Hillsborough County order, which was used to arrest a pastor who held risky services last weekend.
According to the state’s Department of Health website, there have been 6,955 positive cases of COVID-19 in Florida as of Wednesday morning. Eighty-seven people have died.
Here’s the county-by-county breakdown of positive coronavirus tests for the Tampa Bay area: In Hillsborough, there are 309, in Pinellas 170. There are 58 in Manatee, 82 in Sarasota, 24 in Charlotte, 43 in Pasco, 24 in Hernando, 19 in Citrus and 76 in Polk.
information from the Associated Press was used in this report
Listen to the 5:30 p.m. WMNF News headlines for 1 April 2020:
Listen to the 4:30 p.m. WMNF News headlines for 1 April 2020:
Listen to the 3:30 p.m. WMNF News headlines for 1 April 2020:
Here is the full text of the governor’s executive order:
STATE OF FLORIDA
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
EXECUTIVE ORDER NUMBER 20-91
(Essential Services and Activities During COVID-19 Emergency)
WHEREAS, on March 1, 2020, I issued Executive Order 20-51 directing the Florida Department of Health to issue a Public Health Emergency; and
WHEREAS, on March 1, 2020, the State Surgeon General and State Health Officer declared a Public Health Emergency exists in the State of Florida as a result of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, on March 9, 2020, I issued Executive Order 20-52 declaring a state of emergency for the entire State of Florida as a result of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, on March 16, 2020, President Donald J. Trump and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued the “15 Days to Slow the Spread” guidance advising individuals to adopt far-reaching social distancing measures, such as avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, and in states with evidence of community spread, recommending restrictions to certain establishments conducive to mass gatherings and congregations; and
WHEREAS, on March 29, 2020, the President extended such guidance to be in effect until April 30, 2020; and
WHEREAS, on March 31, 2020, the President updated the guidance, renaming it “30 Days to Slow the Spread”, and along with the White House Coronavirus Task Force urged Americans to continue to adhere to the guidelines and expand community mitigation efforts; and
WHEREAS, the majority of individuals in Florida that have tested positive for COVID-19 have been concentrated in its southeastern counties and other urban cores; and
WHEREAS, positive cases of COVID-19 have continued to rise in other states in close proximity to Florida, resulting in increased risk to counties in northern Florida; and
WHEREAS, many thousands of people fled the New York City region to Florida following New York State issuing a “shelter-in-place” order, thereby jeopardizing the health and safety of Floridians; and
WHEREAS, on March 23, 2020, I issued Executive Order 20-80, requiring all individuals that fly into Florida from states with substantial community spread to self-isolate in Florida for 14 days or the duration of their trip, whichever is shorter; and
WHEREAS, on March 27, 2020, I issued Executive Order 20-86, requiring all individuals that drive into Florida from states with substantial community spread to self-isolate in Florida for 14 days or the duration of their trip, whichever is shorter; and
WHEREAS, persistent interstate travel continues to pose a risk to the entire state of Florida; and
WHEREAS, on March 24, 2020, I issued Executive Order 20-83, directing the State Surgeon General and State Health Officer to issue a public health advisory urging the public to avoid all social or recreational gatherings of 10 or more people and urging those who can work remotely to do so; and
WHEREAS, it is necessary and appropriate to take action to ensure that the spread of COVID-19 is slowed, and that residents and visitors in Florida remain safe and secure.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RON DESANTIS, as Governor of Florida, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Article IV, Section (l)(a) of the Florida Constitution, Chapter 252, Florida Statutes, and all other applicable laws, promulgate the following Executive Order to take immediate effect:
Section 1. Safer At Home
- Senior citizens and individuals with a significant underlying medical condition (such as chronic lung disease, moderate-to-severe asthma, serious heart conditions, immunocompromised status, cancer, diabetes, severe obesity, renal failure and liver disease) shall stay at home and take all measures to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
- In concert with the efforts of President Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force to fight COVID-19, and based on guidance provided by Florida Surgeon General and State Health Officer, Dr. Scott Rivkees, all persons in Florida shall limit their movements and personal interactions outside of their home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities.
Section 2. Essential Services
- For purposes of this Order and the conduct it limits, “essential services” means and encompasses the list detailed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, v. 2 (March 28, 2020) (attached) and any subsequent lists published.
- Essential services also include those businesses and activities designated by Executive Order 20-89 and its attachment which consists of a list propounded by Miami-Dade County in multiple orders.
- Other essential services may be added under this Order with the approval of the State Coordinating Officer, in close coordination with the State Health Officer. The State Coordinating Officer shall maintain an online list of essential services, as specified in this Order along with any approved additions. The online list shall be available on the Division of Emergency Management’s website at floridadisaster.org and the Florida Department of Health’s website at www.floridahealth.gov.
- Nothing in this order prohibits individuals from working from home; indeed, this Order encourages individuals to work from home.
- All businesses or organizations are encouraged to provide delivery, carry-out or curbside service outside of the business or organization, of orders placed online or via telephone, to the greatest extent practicable.
Section 3. Essential Activities
- For purposes of this Order and the conduct it limits, “essential activities” means and encompasses the following:
- Attending religious services conducted in churches, synagogues and houses of worship; and
- Participating in recreational activities (consistent with social distancing guidelines) such as walking, biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, running, or swimming; and
- Taking care of pets; and
- Caring for or otherwise assisting a loved one or friend.
- Other essential activities may be added to this list with the approval of the State Coordinating Officer, in close coordination with the State Health Officer. The State Coordinating Officer shall maintain an online list of essential activities, as specified in this Order along with any approved additions.
- A social gathering in a public space is not an essential activity. Local jurisdictions shall ensure that groups of people greater than ten are not permitted to congregate in any public space.
Section 4. Local Orders in Response to COVID-19
This Order shall supersede any conflicting official action or order issued by local officials in response to COVID-19 but only to the extent that such action or order allows essential services or essential activities prohibited by this Executive Order.
Section 5. Previous Executive Orders
This Executive Order does not supersede any Executive Order related to COVID-19.
Section 6. Effective Date and Expiration Date
This Order is effective 12:01 a.m. on April 3, 2020. This Order shall expire on April 30, 2020 unless extended by subsequent order. Executive Order 20-68 (bars, restaurants) and Executive Order 20-71 (alcohol sales, restaurants) shall remain in effect through the duration of Executive Order 20-52, including any extensions.