Hours before a “stay at home” order is set to go into effect for our entire state, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday clarified will and will not be allowed for residents.
The order will last from 12:01 a.m. Friday through April 30.
According to the executive order DeSantis issued Wednesday, “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.”
Those “essential activities” include going to the grocery store, gas station, health care facilities, pharmacies, and child care centers, among other venues.
“When you’re limiting people to essential services and essential activities, the goal is to reduce contacts with people outside the home,” the governor said during a news conference on Thursday.
He added the goal is to avoid having people congregate in large groups, saying, “If you’re engaging in activity that doesn’t involve close contact with other people, you’re gonna be fine.”
Additionally, the governor addressed a common concern with the “stay at home” order which allows churches, synagogues, and houses of worship to remain open.
Some Floridians worry that will cause groups of people to be together at religious services, thereby spreading the coronavirus.
“I don’t think the government has the authority to close a church. I’m certainly not going to do that,” DeSantis said. “There’s no reason why you couldn’t do a church service with people 10 feet apart. So we absolutely asked them to abide by the social distancing guidelines.”
DeSantis also announced he is adding more resources to Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity to handle the large amount of unemployment claims being filed.
“This system is not handling the needs of the people in Florida,” he said.
To that end, the state will provide extra staffing at the Claims Assistance Center and will purchase additional software to help Florida’s CONNECT website handle more traffic.
As we continue to fight the spread of #COVID19, I encourage every Floridian to utilize the resources available below. My administration is focused on providing as much help as possible to the people of Florida. We will get through this together. pic.twitter.com/MEBEqXL0O6
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) April 1, 2020
“This is not something that you can turn on and off in an economy like this,” DeSantis said. “This is a problem that could be with us for more than a couple weeks.”
Florida has also suspended foreclosures and evictions for 45 days.
According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are more than 8,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, including 128 deaths.
More than 69,000 people have tested negative for the virus in Florida.
Here are the cases for our area:
- Palm Beach County: 630, and 22 deaths
- Broward County: 1,346, and 17 deaths
- Miami-Dade County: 2,448, and 19 deaths
Miami-Dade has the highest number of confirmed cases in the state, and Palm Beach County has the most coronavirus-related deaths in Florida.
For the latest information about coronavirus cases in Florida, click here.