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DeSantis issuing limited-movement order

April 1, 2020
Nathan Mayberg , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Florida Gov.Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statewide 30-day order on Wednesday which will take effect Friday at 12:01 a.m. calling on all seniors and those with "signficant underlying medical conditions to stay home." The order also calls on all Floridians to limit movements and personal interactions to "only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities" in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the exemptions for people and businesses are so vast that the on-ground effect of the order has left many questions.

Essential services include a long list of business and sectors of the economy including government, law enforcement, media, emergency services, finance, hardware, food and agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure, legal services, health care, trucking, childcare facilities, telecommunications providers, construction, public works, transportation, architectural services, gas stations, marina services, factories, waste management services, warehouses, information technology and any businesses interacting with customers solely through electronic or telephonic services that use electronic, shipping, mailing services. Businesses that provide food, shelter, social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals are exempted.

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Pet care will also be considered an essential service.

DeSantis said he was following guidelines from President Donald Trump which he said amount to a "national pause."

"This thing is nasty," DeSantis said.

The state's confirmed cases are approaching 7,000, with 86 deaths and almost 900 people hospitalized. In Lee County, a seventh patient died, Lee Health reported Wednesday.

During a press conference Wednesday, DeSantis answered questions about the extent of the order, which only led to more confusion.

"We're not necessarily saying anything to a non-essential business but under the order you just wouldn't be able to go into like, some of these things and conduct business and be following the order. The flip side of that though is there are some businesses which are non-essential that wouldn't be able to have people congregate in their businesses but what they can do is delivery orders or things like that, maybe if they make things. So there is a whole bunch of possibilities where some of those non-essential businesses will still be able to do some things but it is just not going to involve somebody leaving the residence, going in and congregating at a business," DeSantis said.

DeSantis had been defending his county-by-county approach, saying it wouldn't be fair to lock down the small, mostly rural counties with no or few confirmed infections. He issued a stay-at-home order Monday for Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties and the Florida Keys, last week ordered anyone arriving from the New York area and Louisiana into quarantine and issued some statewide measures such as closing bars and gyms and limiting restaurants to takeout and delivery.



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