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Gov. Ron DeSantis issues statewide safer-at-home order for Florida

Order goes into effect at midnight on Friday
'Shut down Florida:' More than 340,000 sign petition asking governor to close state
Posted at 1:17 PM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 19:43:15-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Governor Ron DeSantis has issued a mandatory safer-at-home order for the entire state of Florida for the next 30 days.

Gov. DeSantis made the announcement during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

"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," the order reads.

The order also requires senior citizens and individuals with significant underlying medical conditions to stay at home and take all measures to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

The order will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday and is set to end on April 30.

Despite repeatedly rebuffing suggestions from state legislators that he should shut down the state, DeSantis said Wednesday that he made the decision to issue the order after speaking with President Donald Trump.

"I did speak with the president about it," he said. "He agreed with the approach of focusing on the hot spots. But at the same time, he understood that this is another 30-day situation and you gotta just do what makes the most sense."

New guidance from the Trump Administration calls for people to practice social distancing through at least April 30.

WHICH BUSINESSES/JOBS ARE ESSENTIAL?

DeSantis said the state would also follow the guidelines outlined by the Department of Homeland Security to determine which workers and businesses are considered essential and non-essential.

The following services are also outlined as essential in the executive order:

  • Attending religious services
  • Participating in recreational activities (in alignment with social distancing guidelines) such as walking, biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, running, or swimming (consistent with social distancing guidelines)
  • Taking care of pets
  • Caring for or otherwise assisting a loved one or friend

With the approval of the State Coordinating Officer and State Health Officer, additional activities could be added to the list.

As far as working goes, people are encouraged to work from home whenever possible.

Some other essential activities were defined as, but not limited to, going to grocery stores, gas stations, health care facilities, pharmacies, and child care centers.

That means grocery stores, gas stations, laundromats, assisted living facilities, hotels, pet supply stores, daycares, businesses that provide legal or accounting services, among a list of others, are allowed to stay open.

Restaurants are not being forced to close at this time and can still continue offering curbside, take-out, or delivery orders. However, the order will prevent people from gathering inside those businesses.

For a full list of what's open and what's allowed under the safer-at-home order, click here.

SO WHAT CAN I DO?

YOU CAN:

- Go to the grocery store
- Go to the pharmacy
- Go to the doctor (call them before going for instructions)
- Pick up food from a restaurant
- Take your pet to the veterinarian
- Enjoy outdoor activities, such as going for a walk, or jog, as long as you do not gather in a group of more than 10 and stay at least six feet away from each other

YOU CANNOT:

- Go to work at any place that is NOT an essential service as defined in the order
- Visit friends or family socially
- Visit someone in a hospital, nursing home, or assisted living facility, except for a few limited exceptions. Please contact the specific facility for further information.
- Gather in groups of more than 10, or be closer than six feet to people.

Local governments are also directed to ensure that groups of 10 or more are not permitted to congregate in any public space.

Similar actions were taken in Leon County and several other local counties that enacted their own stay-at-home orders.

You can read the full executive order below:

EO 20-91 by WTXL ABC 27 on Scribd

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who's one of the many who have been pressuring DeSantis to shut down the state, released a statement following the announcement:

“When I called for this stay-at-home order nearly two weeks ago, there was a reason. It was necessary to flatten the curve and save lives. I said then I would stand with the Governor when he issued the order, and I do so now. Thank you, Governor, for making the right call. Together, we will fight this virus and preserve the state we love.”

On Wednesday, 13 Florida Congressional Democrats penned a letter to DeSantis, asking him to issue a statewide "stay at home" order.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 6,741 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Florida, the fifth-most of any state in the nation. At least 85 people have died in connection with the disease.

DeSantis' order comes days after other states had already issued "shelter-in-place" or "stay-at-home" orders. Previously, the governor said he thought it was inappropriate to issue a statewide mandate because some pockets of the state had not yet reported any cases of the virus.

You can watch the full press conference below: