Throughout March, Governor Ron DeSantis has issued multiple Executive Orders related to the COVID-19 outbreak. As of March 23, 2020, Governor DeSantis has issued seven Executive Orders directly related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Executive Order 20-51
On March 1, 2020, Governor DeSantis issued the first Executive Order on the COVID-19 pandemic. Executive Order 20-51 directed the State Health Officer and Surgeon General to declare a public health emergency in Florida. The public health emergency allowed the Florida Department of Health to make determinations as to the appropriate quarantine procedures that may be necessary. Furthermore, the Department of Health was mobilized to coordinate response procedures with local governments across the state.
Executive Order 20-52
As the coronavirus pandemic escalated, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-52 which declared a State of Emergency after eight counties in Florida reported positive cases of COVID-19. By declaring a State of Emergency, Governor DeSantis allowed for the various emergency response channels to be put in place across the state, including the activation of the Florida National Guard. Governor DeSantis also appointed the State Health Officer and Surgeon General as the Deputy State Coordinating Officer and gave him the authority to seek direct assistance from and enter into agreements with the federal government, as necessary.
Executive Order 20-52 also provided for financial assistance to local agencies that need assistance in coping with the costs of the emergency and called for the suspension of any procedural requirements for state business that could delay the necessary action in coping with the emergency. Lastly, Executive Order 20-52 allows medical workers who have valid licenses in states other than Florida to render services in Florida for the remainder of the emergency.
Executive Order 20-68
On March 17, 2020, Governor DeSantis issued the first of multiple Executive Orders discussing entertainment facilities and restaurants. Executive Order 20-68 ordered any bar, pub or nightclub that derives more than 50% of its revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages to suspend the sale of all alcoholic beverages for thirty days. Additionally, Governor DeSantis limited the occupancy of all restaurants in the state to half of the restaurants current building occupancy, limited the party size in restaurants to ten people, and required restaurants to implement employee screening for coronavirus. Furthermore, Governor DeSantis limited the gathering size on Florida beaches to ten people.
Executive Order 20-69
Executive Order 20-69 waived Florida laws requiring an in-person quorum to be present in order to conduct official state business and permitted said business to be conducted via telephonic and video conferencing.
Executive Order 20-70
As the number of COVID-19 cases continued to escalate, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-70 which applies only to Broward and Palm Beach County. This Order closed all restaurants for on-premise service and permitted restaurant kitchens to remain open for delivery and take out only. However, restaurants located in hospitals or airports are exempt. In addition to closing restaurants for dining, Executive Order 20-70 ordered the closure of all movie theatres, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys, arcades, gyms, fitness studios and beaches in Broward and Palm Beach County. This Executive Order is in effect until at least March 31, 2020 but may be extended if necessary.
Executive Order 20-71
Shortly after issuing various closures in Broward and Palm Beach County, Governor DeSantis expanded the closures to the all counties in Florida. Executive Order 20-71 amends Executive Order 20-68 and orders all restaurants in the state to cease on-premise dining. Restaurants are still permitted to operate their kitchens for takeout and delivery. Additionally, all vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for on-premise consumption must cease said sales but, provided certain procedures are follows, can sell alcohol in sealed containers for off-premise consumption. Lastly, as in Broward and Palm Beach Counties, Executive Order 20-71 orders the closure of all gymnasiums and fitness centers across the state. This Executive Order will remain in effect until the State of Emergency has been lifted in Florida.
Executive Order 20-72
The latest Executive Order issued by Governor DeSantis is directly aimed at the medical field. Executive Order 20-72 prohibits any hospital, surgery center, dental office, or health care office from performing any medically unnecessary, non-urgent, or nonemergency procedure or surgery, so long as delaying the surgery does not place a patient’s immediate health, safety, or wellbeing at risk.
We anticipate Governor DeSantis will issue several more Executive Orders in the coming weeks. If you or your business have any questions about the Executive Orders, please contact us at EPGD Business Law.