Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Florida, US, issue order requiring residents to stay at home except to perform essential activities between April 3-30.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Miami, Florida
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Daytona Beach, Florida
  • Key West, Florida
  • Tallahassee, Florida
  • Pensacola, Florida
  • Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
  • Fort Myers, Florida
  • Destin, Florida
  • West Palm Beach, Florida
  • Gainesville, Florida
  • Panama City, Florida
  • Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
  • St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida
  • Melbourne-Space Coast, Florida
  • Naples, Florida
  • Sanford, Florida
  • Fort Pierce, Florida
  • Vero Beach, Florida
  • Punta Gorda, Florida
  • Lakeland, Florida
  • Marathon, Florida

This alert began 02 Apr 2020 00:23 GMT and is scheduled to expire 02 May 2020 03:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 Restrictions
  • Location(s): Florida (map)
  • Time Frame: Through April 30
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions; heightened security

Summary
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order requiring residents to remain inside their homes unless performing essential tasks as part of the state's efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The order, which will be in force from 0001 April 3 until at least April 30, stipulates that residents may leave their homes to obtain or provide essential goods and services, attend to medical issues, care for a person in need, attend religious services, or engage in outdoor recreational activities, provided that they adhere to social distancing guidelines of 2 meters (6 feet) of space between individuals.

While the order does not explicitly mandate any business closures, the stay-at-home order will very likely effectively result in nonessential businesses closing. The state of Florida will be following US Department of Homeland Security guidelines on defining essential businesses and services, which include grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, healthcare facilities, as well as companies that work in energy, agriculture, transport, security, and critical infrastructure.

Florida state authorities had also ordered all persons arriving by air from the New York Tri-State Area (Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York) to isolate or quarantine for 14 days from the time of entry into Florida. The order does not apply to persons employed by airlines or those performing military, emergency, or health service. Violators may be subject to criminal charges.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will almost certainly deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measure. Officials could amend the order in short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by authorities in Florida are similar to actions adopted by other governments in the US and globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int

Florida Health - COVID-19 Updates: www.floridahealthcovid19.gov

City of Miami - COVID-19 Updates: www.miamigov.com

Governor of Florida - Executive Order: https://s33330.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/EO-20-91.pdf