April 1, 2020

Florida Governor Orders Stay at Home

Florida Governor Orders Stay at Home

by William J. Dunaway

On April 1, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis issued a statewide Stay-At-Home Order for the State of Florida. This announcement follows an estimate from the White House that between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans are anticipated to die because of the worldwide pandemic, COVID-19. The Governor advised that to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Florida, ordering Senior citizens or individuals with a significant underlying medical condition to stay at home was required. Additionally, all other “persons in Florida shall limit their movements and personal interactions outside of their home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities.”

While Senior citizens and those with a significant underlying medical condition are ordered to stay at home, the Governor’s executive order, EO 20-19, allows other Floridians movement outside the home as long as that movement is “essential”. The Governor cited Miami-Dade’s Stay-at-Home Order and Homeland Security standards as guidance for the statewide order. The Order is in effect for 30 days, starting 12:01am on April 3, 2020.

In his afternoon news conference announcing the Order, Governor DeSantis said that all of the mitigation we can do has been done. The executive order identifies vulnerable groups within the population and puts the greatest restrictions on them.

The Governor advised that he decided on issuing the order once the President extended the national stay at home guidance. He denied any connection to the US Surgeon General’s announcement earlier in the day. DeSantis advised that Miami-Dade, Broward and Hillsborough already had a stay-at-home order in place.

The Stay-At-Home Order includes enforcement mechanisms. If you are engaged in essential services or seeking essential services, then you will be permitted to leave the home. He stated, the government cannot “handfist people to stay in their bedrooms.”

The order also states that Floridians may work from home, go grocery shopping or to the pharmacy, attend religious services, participate in recreational activities (consistent with social distancing guidelines) such as walking, biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, running, or swimming, take care of pets, and care for or assist a loved one or friend. As with the prior guidance, groups of more than 10 individuals are not allowed to gather in a public space.

Essential businesses include grocery stores, restaurant delivery, airlines, gas stations, laundromats, veterinarian offices, businesses engaged in food services, shelter and social services, hardware and gardening stores, firearm stores and the media. Additionally, under the Homeland Security guidance, essential businesses also include banks and financial services firms as well as those businesses that provide advice and counsel to essential services. This includes title services for real estate closings.

Essential services include fire rescue, law enforcement, federal employees and military personnel, homeland security, certain state and local government employees, school district employees, medical and health personnel and mass transit personnel.

Clark Partington is fully in compliance today with the Governor’s EO while we continue to provide legal services to our clients operating essential businesses and we will remain available to all of our clients (businesses and individuals) as we all work together in this present pandemic.

View & Download:
EXECUTIVE ORDER from Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis


Download a printable PDF of this news release.


William J. Dunaway practices primarily in the area of environmental and land use law. He has experience in local, state, and federal land use planning and the associated environmental permitting. Will has negotiated environmental matters at the federal, state, and local governmental level. He represents clients before local government commissions, councils, and boards on land use and environmental issues.  Contact Will at 850-208-7020 or wdunaway@clarkpartington.com.

About Clark Partington:

Clark Partington is the largest business focused firm in the Florida panhandle with offices in Pensacola, Destin, Grayton Beach & Tallahassee.  The firm also maintains a presence in South Alabama with an Orange Beach office.  Since 1976 Clark Partington has grown to over forty lawyers and has served the people and businesses of Florida through an innovative and collaborative approach to practicing law.  Our lawyers are consistently recognized for their service to the profession and excellence in the courtroom.  More information about the firm’s practice, its attorneys, and recognitions may be found at www.clarkpartington.com.