SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Seminole County residents will experience new restrictions beginning Monday, in accordance with its social distancing order.
As of Sunday morning, Seminole County had 76 confirmed coronavirus cases with 15 people hospitalized in relation to the illness. Local leaders say the new order will help flatten the curve and prevent residents from exposure.
Emergency Management Director Alan Harris turned to Facebook to help explain the new restrictions, emphasizing it is not a stay-at-home order. The mandate, announced Friday, states its to help reduce large gatherings and a way to enforce the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
To help guide residents through the new county-wide restrictions, Seminole County established a page addressing what businesses will still be operating and what people will be allowed or not allowed to do.
Here’s some information from the page and Harris addressing some commonly asked questions:
Who needs to practice social distancing?
Everyone and they need to practice it everywhere. All employees and patrons must stay at least six feet apart, even in grocery lines.
The only exception is first responders, medical and healthcare workers, veterinarian staff, shelter and rehab staff, utility providers, food service workers, childcare providers as well as transit and construction workers.
Can I go grocery shopping with a friend?
Technically, yes. Under the executive order, group meetings and training sizes are limited to 10 people or less, in accordance with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Though you shouldn’t be trying to hang out with friends if you’re keeping your distance.
If I see a crowd somewhere, should I report it?
Yes. Note though that businesses are required to limit occupancy to 30% of the maximum allowable capacity under the fire code.
If you see someone or business not enforcing the order, you’re asked to call 407-665-6650.
What if I don’t stand six feet away?
It could cost you money.
Businesses that don’t comply with this order will get a warning at first and will get fined $500 the second time. The ultimate punishment is mandatory closure.
The fine also applies per person at a social gathering that exceeds 10 people -- so if you’re caught throwing a house party, add $500 to the bill.
How will the county enforce it?
County leaders have mandated checkout points and staging areas, including storefronts, must be monitored for social distancing requirements. That means marking floors or similar actions to maintain six feet distance between customers or patrons.
They’ve already asked non-essential businesses like barbershops or beauty salons to no longer provide services or to limit them saying their storefronts can be open for people looking to purchase gift cards or products.
Local police officers and deputies will be patrolling to make sure businesses and people are complying or they’ll receive a warning or fine.
Is there a curfew?
No. At this time there is no curfew, just the request that people be mindful of the social distancing order.
Can I still go outside, walk my dog, work out?
Yes. Harris said even outdoor group workouts or religious services are allowed as long as there at 10 people or less present. He encouraged residents to enjoy the outdoors while still keeping their distance.
How long will this last?
For right now, this order is in effect until further notice.
What if I can’t stand six feet away from someone?
Harris said it best.
“Please give the individual space,” he said. "Personal responsibility is also very important. We don’t need the government to tell people every single thing they have to do.”
You can watch his explainer video below.