TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has reversed course and issued a new Executive Order mandating the entire state of Florida to stay home to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
The statewide stay-at-home order will be effective 12:01 a.m. Friday.
”Even though there are a lot of places that have very low infection rates, it makes sense to make this move now,” DeSantis said on Wednesday.
The decision was made after he spoke to President Trump on Wednesday and amid skyrocketing caseloads of COVID-19 in Florida.
Governor DeSantis said even though there are places in Florida with low infection rates, it makes sense to make this move now. He also said he was driven to issue the order now after the White House’s 30-day extension of CDC social distancing guidelines.
Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe and Palm Beach Counties were already under county-wide stay-at-home orders issued by the Governor.
The Governor’s order requires Floridians statewide to “limit movements and personal interactions outside the home.”
Essential services and businesses will be identified by the Department of Homeland Security.
“Essential activities” include attending religious services, participating in recreational activities (walking, biking, swimming, etc.) while practicing social distancing, and taking care of pets, caring for a loved one or friend.
A social gathering in a public space is not an essential activity.
All essential businesses and organizations are encouraged to provide take-out, delivery, and curbside service. Orders should be placed online or over the phone “to the greatest extent possible.”
The order notes that the State Coordinating Officer, in coordination with the health department, will maintain an online list of essential services. The list is available on the websites of the Division of Emergency Management and the Florida Department of Health.
This order will supersede any conflicting order issued by local officials in response to the COVID-19 “but only to the extent that such action or order allows essential services and essential activities prohibited by the Executive Order.”
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried applauded the Governor’s action.
“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,” she said in a statement. “Together, we will fight this virus and preserve the state we love.”
Terrie Rizzo, chair of the Florida Democratic Party, also applauded the Governor’s action but said it should have come sooner.
“It is distressing that Governor Ron DeSantis waited until the coronavirus had spread to so many Floridians before finally issuing a statewide stay-at-home order. I hope this will finally slow the rise in infections and that his actions are not too late,” said Rizzo in a statement.
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