Florida Stay at Home Rules Explained and Essential Business Details As Coronavirus Cases Pass 7,000

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has issued a statewide stay at home order as the state records more than 7,700 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Following President Donald Trump's decision to update the social distancing guidance from "15 Days to Slow the Spread" to "30 Days to Slow the Spread," on April 1, DeSantis had joined more than 30 other states in implementing stay at home orders.

Until this statewide order, Florida was the only state with more than 5,000 cases that had yet to implement strict social distancing guidelines. Instead, Florida had only issued orders for certain cities and southeast Florida.

Florida Stay at Home Order Rules

Florida's stay at home order will begin at 12:01 a.m. local time on Friday, April 3, and will be in place until April 30, although this date could change depending on how the coronavirus outbreak evolves.

According to the stay at home order, residents of Florida should only leave their homes to "obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities."

When leaving their homes, Florida residents should practice social distancing guidelines, which include remaining at least six feet away from people outside of your household.

Florida Stay at Home
The boardwalk that runs along the beach and is normally filled with people is seen on March 31, 2020, in Hollywood, Florida. The City of Hollywood along with other cities along the coastline have shuttered their beaches in an attempt to contain COVID-19, which was declared a global pandemic by The World Health Organization on March 11. Joe Raedle/Getty

What is considered an essential service?

Essential services include grocery stores, post offices, restaurants serving carry-out, gas stations, pharmacies, banks, laundry services and essential government functions.

Florida's approved list of essential activities includes attending religious services, recreational activities, like walking, hiking, and biking, (while following social distancing guidelines), and caring for loved ones, friends, and pets.

Social gatherings in public spaces are not essential activities, and people are not allowed to gather in groups of 10 or more.

Essential workers list

Florida residents should work at home where possible, and only essential workers should continue going to work.

Florida has issued a full list of essential workers, which includes healthcare workers, law enforcement, fire and rescue services, emergency medical services, grocery store, pharmacy, and convenience store workers, water and wastewater operational staff, transportation and shipping workers, postal workers and more.

Florida has previously issued rules for alcohol vendors, restaurants, bars, and gyms, which will be extended into the stay at home orders.

  • Licensed alcohol vendors are not allowed to sell alcohol that is to be consumed on their premises, but they are now allowed to sell alcohol in sealed containers as a carry-out order as long as food is purchased in the same order.
  • Restaurants and bars are not allowed to serve dine-in customers but can continue preparing and selling food for carry-out and delivery orders.
  • Gyms and fitness centers will close, apart from those that are a part of a hotel that has a capacity of 10 or fewer people, or are an amenity of a residential building.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

• Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
• Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
• Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
• Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

• Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
• Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
• If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
• Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
• Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

• Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
• Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
• Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
• Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
• Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
• Do not reuse single-use masks.
• Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
• The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.