Executive order limits Floridians to leaving home for only essential services.
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday he would issue a statewide stay-at-home order that takes effect starting Friday.
The executive order says people in Florida should "limit their movements and personal interactions outside of their home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities" to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“Even though there’s a lot of places in Florida that have very low infection rates, it makes sense to make this move now,” DeSantis said. “I did consult with folks in the White House. I did speak with the president about it.”
The order is set to expire on April 30 unless it is extended.
DeSantis stressed people in Florida can still access "essential services," which he said includes getting groceries, gas or medicine. The order also lists out several "essential activities" that are allowed, which include participating in recreational activities consistent with social distancing guidelines, caring for pets and taking care of a loved one or friend.
"At some point, you do need to just exercise good judgment," DeSantis said. "The government can't hamfist everybody into their bedroom. It's just not practical."
DeSantis said the decision came after federal guidelines were extended for another 30 days.
"I felt like with 30 more days, we should just do it, and I think that’ll probably end up being something that will make sense," DeSantis said. "We’ll see. We don’t really know how all these measures work. This has never really been tried on American society before."
Data from the Florida Department of Health shows the state has 6,955 confirmed cases of coronavirus. So far, 87 people have died from coronavirus in Florida.
Senior citizens and people with underlying medical conditions should stay home and take measures to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Editor’s Note: Sarasota Observer Deputy Managing Editor David Conway contributed to this story.