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A Quick(ish) Breakdown of Florida’s Stay-At-Home Order For Businesses:

On April 1, 2020, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order Number 20-91, which is a statewide stay-at-home order for Florida that took effect at midnight on April 3, 2020.  This Order requires persons in Florida to stay at home, unless providing or obtaining “essential services” or conducting “essential activities.” The Executive Order also allows only “essential” businesses or services to remain open.  But what does “essential” mean, what can employees do, and what businesses are “essential”? Below is a noncomprehensive list to help individuals and businesses better understand what they can and cannot do.

Please keep in mind that businesses and individuals should remain up to date with any new Executive Orders that may impact the one discussed above.  At present, this Executive Order does not prescribe penalties for violations, but it is likely that the Executive Order will be supplemented in the coming hours or days to include penalties. Read the Executive Orders.  Additionally, businesses and individuals should also make sure to stay up to date with their county’s and/or city’s orders, because these will apply if they do not conflict with the Executive Order.

If you have specific questions or would like to discuss your specific concerns, please reach out to us.  We would be more than happy to help!

Essential Activities:

  • Attending religious services that take place in churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship;
  • Participating in recreational activities, so long as social distancing guidelines are complied with (these activities include, but are not limited to, walking, biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, running, or swimming);
  • Taking care of pets; and
  • Caring for otherwise assisting a loved one or friend.

Essential Services, Essential Businesses, and/or Essential Workers:

  • Healthcare providers and caregivers, including, but not limited to, dentists’ offices, urgent care centers, clinics, rehabilitation facilities, physical therapists, mental health professionals, psychiatrists, therapists, and pharmacies;
    • This also includes practically anything in the healthcare space, such as hospital and laboratory personnel (including accounting, administrative, admitting and discharge, engineering, source plasma and blood donation, food service, housekeeping, medical records, sanitarians, etc.), workers performing research and development for the COVID-19 response; public health/community health works that compile, model, analyze, and communicate public health information; blood and plasma donors and their employees; workers that manage health plans, billing, and health information that cannot practically work remotely; workers performing mortuary funeral, cremation, burial, and related services; etc.  For a more comprehensive list of healthcare services that are deemed essential, please refer to the list detailed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, v. 4 (Updated Aug 10, 2021) (“Homeland Security Guidance”);
  • Grocery stores, farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). This authorization includes stores that sell groceries and that also sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residences.  For more information on the specifics of what is “essential” within the Food and Agriculture industry, please refer to the Homeland Security Guidance, which features a section specifically dedicated to Food and Agriculture;
  • Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities;
  • Childcare facilities providing services that enable employees exempted in this order to work as permitted. To the extent possible, childcare facilities should operate under the following mandatory conditions:
    1. Childcare must be carried out in stable groups of 10 or fewer (inclusive of childcare providers for the group).
    2. Children and childcare providers shall not change from one group to another.
    3. If more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group shall be in a separate room. Groups shall not mix or interact with each other;
  • Businesses that provide food, shelter, social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals;
  • Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing;
  • Banks and related financial institutions;
  • Hardware stores;
  • Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;
  • Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;
  • Private colleges, trade schools, and technical colleges, but only as needed to facilitate online or distance learning;
  • Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers;
  • Landscape and pool care businesses, including residential landscape and pool care services;
  • Contractors and other tradesmen, appliance repair personnel, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and other structures;
  • Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food. Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and takeaway basis only. Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not permit the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided, or at any other gathering site;
  • Businesses that supply office products needed for people to work from home;
  • Gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities;
  • Businesses that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate, and which do not interact with the general public;
  • Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods, or services directly to residences;
  • Airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers providing transportation services via automobile, truck, bus, or train;
  • Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children;
  • Businesses operating at any airport, seaport, or other government facility, including parks and government offices;
  • Pet supply stores;
  • Logistics providers, including warehouses, trucking, consolidators, fumigators, and handlers;
  • Telecommunications providers, including sales of computer or telecommunications devices and the provision of home telecommunications;
  • Provision of propane or natural gas;
  • Office space and administrative support necessary to perform any of the above-listed activities;
  • Open construction sites, irrespective of the type of building;
  • Architectural, engineering, or land surveying services;
  • Assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and adult daycare centers, and senior residential facilities;
  • Factories, manufacturing facilities, bottling plants, or other industrial uses.  For more information on the specifics of what is “essential” within the
  • Manufacturing industry, please refer to the Homeland Security Guidance, which features a section specifically dedicated to Manufacturing;
  • Waste management services, including collection and disposal of waste;
  • Any business that is interacting with customers solely through electronic or telephonic means, and delivering products via mailing, shipping, or delivery services;
  • Public, private, and voluntary personnel (front line and management) in emergency management, law enforcement, fire and rescue services, emergency medical services, and private security, to include public and private hazardous material responders, air medical service providers (pilots and supporting technicians), corrections, and search and rescue personnel.  This also includes 911 call center employees that cannot perform their duties remotely, vendors that support law enforcement service and response operations, public agency workers that respond to abuse and neglect allegations, workers that support weather disaster/natural hazard mitigation and prevention activities, etc.;
  • Workers supporting the energy sector, regardless of the energy source (including but not limited to nuclear, fossil, hydroelectric, or renewable), segment of the system, or infrastructure the worker is involved in, or who are needed to monitor, operate, engineer, and maintain the reliability, safety, environmental health, and physical and cybersecurity of the energy system. For more information on the specifics of what is “essential” within the Energy industry, please refer to the Homeland Security Guidance, which features a section specifically dedicated to Energy;
  • Employees needed to operate and maintain drinking water and wastewater/drainage infrastructure.  This is fairly broad. For more information on the specifics of what is “essential” related to Water and Wastewater, please refer to the Homeland Security Guidance, which features a section specifically dedicated to the Water and Wastewater;
  • Workers who support the operation, inspection, and maintenance of essential public works facilities and operations, including bridges, water and sewer main breaks, fleet maintenance personnel, construction of critical or strategic infrastructure, traffic signal maintenance, emergency location services for buried utilities, maintenance of digital systems infrastructure supporting public works operations, and other emergent issues;
  • Workers who provide support, such as road and line clearing, to ensure the availability of and access to needed facilities, transportation, energy and communications;
  • Information technology workers.  For more information on the specifics of what is “essential” related to the Information Technology industry, please refer to the Homeland Security Guidance, which features a section specifically dedicated to Information Technology;
  • Elections personnel to include both public and private sector elections support;
  • Workers supporting the operations of the judicial system;
  • Trade Officials;
  • Clergy for essential support;
  • Staff at government offices who perform title search, notary, and recording services in support of mortgage and real estate services and transactions;
  • Residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services;
  • Workers supporting the chemical and industrial gas supply chains, including workers at chemical manufacturing plants, workers in laboratories, workers at distribution facilities, workers who transport basic raw chemical materials to the producers of industrial and consumer goods, including hand sanitizers, food and food additives, pharmaceuticals, paintings and coatings, textiles, building materials, plumbing, electrical, and paper products.  For more information on the specifics of what is “essential” related to the Chemical industry, please refer to the Homeland Security Guidance, which features a section specifically dedicated to Chemicals;
  • Workers who support the essential services required to meet national security commitments to the federal government and U.S. Military. These individuals include, but are not limited to, space and aerospace; mechanical and software engineers (various disciplines), manufacturing/production workers; IT support; security staff; security personnel; intelligence support, aircraft and weapon system mechanics and maintainers; and sanitary workers who maintain the hygienic viability of necessary facilities.  For more information on the specifics of what is “essential” related to the Defense Industrial Base industry, please refer to the Homeland Security Guidance, which features a section specifically dedicated to Defense Industrial Base;
  • Workers in animal shelters;
  • Workers responsible for the leasing of residential properties to provide individuals and families with ready access to available housing;
  • Workers responsible for handling property management, maintenance, and related service calls who can coordinate the response to emergency “at-home” situations requiring immediate attention, as well as facilitate the reception of deliveries, mail, and other necessary services;
  • Workers providing personal and household goods repair and maintenance;
  • Workers providing disinfection services, for all essential facilities and modes of transportation, and supporting the sanitation of all food manufacturing processes and operations from wholesale to retail;
  • Support required for continuity of services, including commercial disinfectant services, janitorial/cleaning personnel, and support personnel functions that need freedom of movement to access facilities in support of front-line employees; and
  • Postal, parcel, courier, last-mile delivery, and shipping and related workers, to include private companies.


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