Alerts and Updates

Florida Governor Clarifies Terms of First Statewide Safer-at-Home Order

April 6, 2020

Senior citizens and those with significant medical conditions may continue to go to work if their jobs are providing essential services. 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ first statewide order restricting travel outside the home went into effect April 3, 2020, with a number of provisions still subject to reasonable debate as to their effect. To clarify the impact of Executive Order No. 20-91, the Office of the Governor released a set of FAQs.

A number of the key takeaways from the clarifying document are described below:

Senior Citizens and Those with Significant Medical Conditions

One of the most noteworthy items in the FAQs is the clarification that senior citizens and individuals with significant medical conditions may leave their homes “when necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities.” This clarification is important because Section 1(A) of Executive Order No. 20-91 provided that “[s]enior citizens and individuals with significant underlying medical conditions… shall stay home and take all measures to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19[,]” seemingly without an exception for providing or obtaining essential services or conducting essential activities. (Emphasis added.)

Therefore, senior citizens and those with significant medical conditions may continue to go to work if their jobs are providing essential services. Consequently, the order does not qualify as an isolation or quarantine order triggering potential sick leave requirements outlined in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Nonessential Businesses

While Executive Order No. 20-91 explained that Florida residents could only venture outside of their homes to provide or obtain essential services or partake in essential activities, the order was seemingly silent on whether businesses providing nonessential services or activities actually had to shut their doors. Presumably, such businesses would have closed voluntarily absent any ability to serve customers. But the FAQs specifically addressed the issue, clarifying that if a business is not an essential service, it must close the physical location to customers.

The FAQs also address issues relating to, among other matters, how Executive Order No. 20-91 will be enforced; how to report violations of the order; and whether special permits are required for operation of essential businesses or to leave one’s home to obtain such services.

About Duane Morris

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For Further Information

If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact Harvey W. Gurland, Jr., Patrick C. Gallagher, Ph.D., Kevin E. Vance, Justin M. L. Stern, any member of the COVID-19 Strategy Team or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Disclaimer: This Alert has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. For more information, please see the firm's full disclaimer.