FLORIDA — Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced he will sign an executive "safer-at-home" order directing residents to "limit movements and personal interactions outside the home" to essential services or activities.
Several counties in the state have issued "stay-at-home" or "safer-at home" orders, and this is a similar measure. The order will go into effect on Friday at midnight for 30 days.
DeSantis' order comes days — and in some cases, weeks — after other states had already issued "shelter-in-place" or "stay-at-home" orders. California, the first state to issue a lockdown, did so on March 20.
In his Wednesday press conference, the governor also mentioned the importance of pets, and that places that sell pet food would be considered essential.
DeSantis' order asks Floridians to stay in their homes outside of some "essential activities" which include but are not limited to going to grocery stores, gas stations, health care facilities, pharmacies and child care centers.
DeSantis did not order the closure of non-essential businesses.
Here is a list of essential services, per the order:
- Attending religious services conducted in churches, synagogues and houses of worship
- Participating in recreational activities such as walking, biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, running or swimming - as long as it is consistent with social distancing guidelines
- Taking care of pets
- Caring for or assisting a loved one or friend
Other essential activities may be added to the list with the approval of the State. However, local law enforcement will make sure that groups of 10 or more people will not be congregating together in a public space.
Given the unique situation in Florida, I’m going to be doing an Executive Order today directing all Floridians to limit movements, and personal interactions outside the home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities.
The announcement comes as Florida's total COVID-19 cases are nearly at 7,000, including 87 deaths.
Because the virus can be more severe in the elderly, Florida's large population of retirees are at risk of serious complications should they contract COVID-19.
Previously, DeSantis 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.
The order goes into effect at midnight on Friday for 30 days.
Read the order below: