ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings joined other leaders around Florida Tuesday announcing plans to sign a stay-at-home executive order that will go into affect later this week.
The order will go into effect Thursday at 11 p.m. and will continue for two weeks until April 9 at 11 p.m. and applies to all Orange County cities and unincorporated areas.
As of Tuesday afternoon there are at least 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Orange County. The county learned of its first case less than two weeks ago.
“Just one week ago we only had one case,” Demings said. “It is an understatement to say the least that the virus is spreading.”
Under the Executive Order announced by @OCFLMayor and @orlandomayor today, you should stay at home, unless it is absolutely essential. This takes effect this Thursday, March 26 at 11 p.m. pic.twitter.com/lwak6i4gi7— City of Orlando (@citybeautiful) March 24, 2020
Residents will still be able to go out to buy groceries, medicine and essential supplies but it means retails stores and businesses who don’t sell essential items will close, officials said. Businesses that will enable people to go about their lives, including laundry mats and grocery stores, will remain open.
Under the stay-at-home order, Sheriff John Mina said law enforcement officers will issue warnings but people who violate the order could receive $50 citations or up to 50 days in jail.
Orange County health officer Dr. Raul Pino, with the Department of Health, said the reason people must stat at home and away from others is because people transmit the virus to other people.
“The safe assumption is that everyone else has it,” Pino said. “Even if you have a negative test today doesn’t mean you can’t have it tomorrow.”
The decision to issue to stay-at-home order was made after talking to local health care providers and leaders of of cities in California and New York that have experience hot spots of the virus, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said.
Read the full emergency executive order below. If you are having trouble viewing on mobile, click here.
“Peoples’ doctors will tell you they have no symptoms but yet they can spread the virus without knowing,” Dyer said. “We really have no idea how many people are infected in Orange County, Florida.”
In Orange County, the patients who have contracted COVID-19 are between 20 and 87-years-old. At least 12 county cases have been hospitalized, Pino said.
Thus far, Orange County is the first in Central Florida to issue a stay-at-home order. On Tuesday, Brevard County officials announced that they have no plans to close beaches.
There are more than 1,400 Florida-related cases of the novel coronavirus, according to the Florida Department of Health. Statewide, 18 deaths have been reported.
See a county-by-county breakdown of COVID-19 cases in the map below.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.