ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday became one of the last few governors in the U.S. to issue a stay-at-home order amid the coronavirus pandemic.
For many in Florida, the governor’s order won’t change anything because some local leaders have already issued similar countywide orders. The governor’s order takes the place of many stay-at-home orders already issued, including in Orange and Osceola counties.
That order became enforceable at 12:01 a.m. Friday and ends April 30. Here’s what you need to know:
What’s open and what’s not?
Businesses that provide daily necessities, including grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, gas stations, pet supply stores, laundromats, hardware stores and others, will remain open.
Food-related businesses will still abide by the governor’s previous executive orders directing them to close their dining rooms. Restaurants can still deliver food and provide pickup orders.
Bars and nightclubs will remain closed. All major theme parks, including Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando and Legoland previously announced they would remain closed.
What about my pets? Or caring for a loved one?
Under the order, people can still take their family members or friends to the doctor or help them attend to their needs. The same goes for pets. If Fiddo has to got to the veterinarian that’s OK, too.
Will the beaches close?
Many Florida counties have already closed public beaches to deter crowds and prevent large social gatherings. Flagler County beaches closed March 22 after a local executive order. For counties that have not, including Brevard and Volusia counties, officials say they are sorting through the order to determine what can stay open.
What about going outside?
You can still go for a run, hike, bike ride and swim under the executive order, just don’t do it in a group and maintain your distance from other people.
The executive order also includes fishing and hunting as “essential" activities.
Can you travel or drive out of state?
If you are visiting Florida and need to drive home, it’s OK. You are still permitted to drive to conduct essential activities. If that means getting home safely, you will be fine.
Most airports will also remain open, including Orlando International Airport.
A spokesperson for the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority said the airport will remain open unless it is directed to close to by federal authorities.
“Orlando International Airport, as any federally-obligated airport, may only close with the authorization of the Federal Aviation Administration. However, as airport traffic has been reduced by 95 percent, there are a limited number of passengers within the facility,” the statement said. "The airport is considered essential because of the delivery of U.S. mail and other commercial goods. It is important to remain operating to assist in the coordination and delivery of medical equipment, prescription drugs, or essential personnel who may need to travel from other parts of the country to the Central Florida. "
How will the order be enforced?
DeSantis activated the Florida National Guard last month to help with the state’s coronavirus response, including operating large-scale testing sites.
The order can be enforced by state or local law enforcement.
What states are under a similar order?
Most state governors have already taken this step. After the Florida executive order, only five states have no shelter-in-place orders.
Can I read the executive order?
Yes. See the governor’s executive order below: