Florida - COVID-19 Covered

Florida

Total Cases: 2,344,321 (June 14)
Tests Administered: 11,256,791 (March 6)
Fatalities: 37,265 (June 14)
Testing:
  • Information on COVID-19 testing in Florida can be found here. 

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • Governor DeSantis issued an executive order declaring the state’s list of essential services would follow US Department of Homeland Security guidance, which includes: healthcare services (including hospitals, clinics, labs); law enforcement and public safety (including first responders); food and agriculture (including grocery stores, pharmacies, food manufacturers, restaurants); energy (including gas stations, nuclear power, utilities); water and waste water; transportation and logistics (including DMVs, mass transit); public works and infrastructure support; communications and information technology; critical manufacturing; financial services; and certain commercial facilities. (April 1)

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • Governor DeSantis signed legislation that authorizes restaurants and vendors of alcoholic beverages holding a public food service license to sell or deliver alcoholic beverages in sealed containers. (May 14) 
  • Governor DeSantis issued an executive order relaxing previous restaurant restrictions. This same order also removed travel restrictions on people coming to Florida from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. (August 6) 
  • Executive Order 20-139, which established the second phase of Florida’s recovery, recommended retail businesses maintain social distancing and sanitation protocols. The order did not cover Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties, which remained in Phase 1. (June 3) 

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • Governor DeSantis announced a proposal to provide $1,000 bonuses to public school principals and full-time classroom teachers. (March 31) 
  • Governor DeSantis recommended a one-time $1,000 direct payment to full-time sworn law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians funded through the American Rescue Plan. (March 17) 
  • Governor DeSantis announced that Florida received $85.8 million in CARES Act funding to address housing instability and homelessness, with funds being released in two separate disbursements$20 million and $65 million. (January 15) 
  • Governor DeSantis announced that Florida has submitted confirmation to take part in the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. (January 13) 
  • Governor DeSantis announced that Florida has been awarded an additional $28 million in federal funding for disaster-relief employment. (December 2) 
  • Governor DeSantis ended the state’s participation in the Lost Wages Assistance program because Florida pays its unemployed workers too little to meet a 25 percent matching requirement. (September 16) 
  • Governor DeSantis announced that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity will begin paying Lost Wages Assistance program benefits. (September 9) 

Business Support & Resources:

  • Governor DeSantis signed legislation that would provide businesses and healthcare providers with COVID-19 liability protections. (March 19) 
  • Governor DeSantis expressed support for legislation that would place limits on COVID-19-related litigation. (September 23) 
  • Palm Beach County will begin to distribute $60 million in grants for businesses hurt by the pandemic. $50 million of this sum will be reserved for businesses employing 25 people or fewer. (May 20) 
  • Executive Order No. 95 suspended the assessment and collection of taxes under Title I of the CARES Act, pertaining to the law’s Paycheck Protection Program that provides loans to small businesses. (April 6) 

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Reopening:

  • Governor DeSantis suspended local COVID-19 emergency orders and signed a proposal that would limit the ability to impose mask requirements and other social-distancing measures. (May 3) 
  • Governor DeSantis extended Florida’s state of emergency for an additional 60 days. (April 28) 
  • Governor DeSantis issued an executive order that would bar government agencies from issuing COVID-19 “passports” and prevent businesses from requiring customers to show documentation that they had been vaccinated or had recovered from COVID-19 in order to gain entrance. (April 5) 
  • Governor DeSantis announced that all individuals 40 years of age and above will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning March 29. Starting April 5, all individuals age 16 and older will be eligible. (March 26) 
  • The DeSantis administration rescinded several emergency orders on nursing home visitations restrictions and instructed facilities to abide by recently issued federal guidelines. (March 24) 
  • Governor DeSantis announced that individuals 50 years of age and older would be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines beginning March 22. (March 19) 
  • Governor DeSantis signed an executive order that declared any COVID-19 fines levied on people or businesses by local governments would be remitted, effective March 20. (March 12) 
  • Governor DeSantis issued an executive order mandating vaccine priority for seniors 65 years of age and older. (January 4) 
  • Governor DeSantis released information on Florida’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, including details on the state’s initial allocation. (December 11) 
  • Governor DeSantis extended the executive order that banned local governments from enforcing mask mandate violations. The order also prevented cities and counties from ordering restaurants to close without justifiable financial or health reasons. (November 25) 
  • Governor DeSantis relaxed restrictions for visits to long-term care facilities, allowing for children to visit indoors as well as for residents to take overnight trips. (October 23) 
  • Governor DeSantis announced that the state would move to Phase 3 of reopening, enabling restaurants and bars to return to full capacity indoors. (September 25) 
  • Hillsborough County extended its mask-wearing requirement. (July 13) 

SCHOOL PLANNING

K-12:

  • Florida Governor DeSantis remained steadfast in his opposition to lockdowns, mandates, and school closures Monday in his first public news conference in nearly a month. (November 30) 
  • A judge ruled that Florida’s order requiring in-person classes is unconstitutional. (August 24) 
  • Governor DeSantis said parents should have the choice of whether to send their children to school for in-person learning or have them start with distancing learningadding, “We’re not going to force parents to put their child in in-person instruction.” (July 29) 

State Higher Education:

  • A list of Florida colleges and universities planning to reopen in the fall can be found here.

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