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Florida’s COVID-19 “Stay at Home” Order: What Do Residents Need to Know?

On April 1, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 2020-91 and Executive Order 2020-92 in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This is Florida’s “stay at home” order, and it goes into effect at 12:01am on April 3 and expires on April 30.

Florida’s “Stay at Home” Order Includes Special Restrictions for Senior Citizens and At-Risk Individuals

Florida’s “stay at home” order has two key sections: Section 1.A and Section 1.B. Section 1.A provides:

“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.”

Section 1.B provides:

“[A]ll 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.”

In other words, the majority of Floridians are prohibited from leaving home unless it is necessary to do so, and senior citizens and residents with the underlying medical conditions listed in the order are required to stay home.

What Qualifies as an “Essential Service” or “Essential Activity”?

Despite being labeled Florida’s “stay at home” order, Executive Order 2020-91 permits most residents to leave home when necessary to obtain or provide “essential services” or to conduct “essential activities.” Essential services include, but are not limited to, work in the following areas:

  • Communications
  • Critical manufacturing
  • Emergency services
  • Energy and water
  • Financial services
  • Food and agriculture
  • Government
  • Healthcare and public health
  • Information technology
  • Mortuaries, funeral home and cemetery services
  • Transportation systems (including gas stations)
  • Veterinary services
  • Waste management

Additionally, private colleges, trade schools and technical colleges are permitted to remain open, “but only as needed to facilitate online or distance learning.” The order also states that, “businesses and 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.” A complete list of essential services, which may be updated from time to time, is available at www.floridadisaster.org.

Under Governor DeSantis’ order, “essential activities” for which eligible residents are authorized to leave home include:

  • “Attending religious services conducted by churches, synagogues and houses of worship;”
  • “Participating in recreational activities (consistent with social distancing guidelines) such as walking, biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, running, or swimming;”
  • “Taking care of pets;” and,
  • “Caring for or otherwise assisting a loved one or friend.”

However, the order confirms prior guidance that groups of more than 10 people may not congregate in any public place and that social gathering is not considered an “essential activity.”

Sarasota Lawyers Serving Florida Residents During the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic

Fowler Law Group is a Sarasota law firm that represents Florida residents in criminal cases and other legal matters. If you have questions about Florida’s “stay at home” order, or if you have had a run in with law enforcement during the novel coronavirus pandemic, we invite you to call 941-404-8909 or contact us online for a free consultation. 

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