Florida - COVID-19 Covered

Florida

Total Cases: 491,884 (August 4)
Tests Administered: 3,756,026 (August 2)
Fatalities: 7,157 (August 4)
Testing:
  • Information on COVID-19 testing in Florida can be found here.
  • The Florida Division of Emergency Management announced that five federallyfunded drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites will open in South Florida on July 24. (July 22) 

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • Florida has entered Phase 1 of its recovery; restrictions on the majority of businesses in the state have been lifted. (May 14)
  • 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:

  • Executive Order 20-139, establishing the second phase of Florida’s recovery, recommends retail businesses maintain social distancing and sanitation protocols. The order does not cover Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties, which remain in Phase 1. (June 3)
  • The Department of Economic Opportunity has begun approving unemployment claims from independent contractors, gig workers, and others who qualify for federal benefits under the CARES Act (April 24)
  • Executive Order No 104 suspended biweekly reporting requirements for recipients of unemployment benefits. (April 16)

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • Governor DeSantis extended the state’s ban on evictions and foreclosures through September 1. (July 30) 
  • Governor DeSantis announced $75 million in federal funding for rental and mortgage assistance. (July 20) 
  • Governor De Santis extended the statewide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through August 1. (July 1)
  • Governor DeSantis announced $250 million in federal funding for rental and mortgage assistance for Florida families negatively impacted by the pandemic. (June 25)
  • Governor DeSantis extended the statewide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through July 1. (June 1)
  • The federal government approved Florida’s Pandemic EBT Program (P-EBT) to automatically issue benefits in June to more than 2 million children who have temporarily lost access to free and reduced-price school meals due to COVID-related school closures. (May 27)
  • Governor DeSantis’ task force projected that more than 40% of tourism, recreation, retail, real estate, and transportation jobs are at risk. (April 20)
  • Governor DeSantis will sign a waiver to temporarily increase SNAP benefits for families from $449 to the maximum allotment of $509 per month, which may impact hundreds of thousands of families. (March 27)

Business Support & Resources:

  • 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)
  • Governor DeSantis has activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, which allows businesses with two to 100 employees to apply for up to a $50,000 interest-free loan with a one-year term. (March 16)
  • Governor DeSantis has also activated the Business Damage Assessment survey to evaluate businesses affected by the crisis so actions to implement appropriate relief programs can begin. (March 12)

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Reopening:

  • Hillsborough County has extended its mask-wearing requirement. (July 13) 
  • Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez reversed a previous executive order, allowing fitness centers and restaurants with indoor dining to remain open with certain safety precautions in place. (July 7)
  • Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez signed an executive order shutting down restaurants and gyms starting July 8. (July 6)
  • Broward and Miami-Dade counties have shut down all onsite dining and onsite alcohol services after midnight. (July 2)
  • Broward County and Miami-Dade County are requiring individuals to wear masks in all public spaces. (July 2)
  • Miami-Dade County ordered restaurants to close on-site dining from midnight to 6AM beginning July 1. Hotels, motels and commercial lodgings must restrict pool access and alcohol sales beginning July 3. (July 1)
  • Starting July 1, Seminole County will issue a mask requirement for public locations. (June 30)
  • Starting June 29, Jacksonville joins a number of Florida cities that have issued a mask requirement for public and indoor locations. (June 29)
  • Governor DeSantis continues to support Florida’s reopening despite the state’s spike in cases. (June 24)
  • Governor DeSantis signed an executive order moving the majority of the state (except Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties) into Phase 2 of its recovery beginning June 5. In Phase 2, bars, movie theaters, concert halls, and bowling alleys may reopen at 50 percent capacity. Tattoo parlors and tanning and massage spas may also open with appropriate guidelines outlined by the Department of Health. (June 3)
  • Executive Order 20-139, establishing the second phase of Florida’s recovery, encourages senior citizens and vulnerable individuals to limit crowds; encourages avoiding congregating in groups larger than 50 persons. (June 3)
  • Universal Orlando Resort announced that select hotels will begin a phased reopening on June 2. (May 29)
  • Governor DeSantis’ office approved reopening vacation rentals in the state’s panhandle counties – Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, and Franklin. (May 19)
  • Executive Order 20-123 commenced Florida’s statewide “Full Phase 1” recovery on May 18. Under the order, restaurants may serve patrons at indoor seating as long as occupancy is limited to 50 percent of capacity and six feet of distance between parties is enforced (bar counters are to remain closed to seating) or serve outdoors with social distancing; retail sales may operate up to 50 percent of their building occupancy; museums and libraries may operate up to 50 percent of building capacity; and gyms and fitness centers may operate up to 50 percent of building occupancy as well as implement social distancing for classes and enforce individual self-cleaning of surfaces and machines. Professional sports teams may also host training, competitions, events and games. (May 14)
  • Amusement parks may submit re-opening plans to the state; those submissions must include endorsement letters from local officials. (May 14)
  • On May 4, some state parks and beaches began reopening with limited facilities and reductions in visitor capacities. Visitors must practice proper social distancing and limit group size to ten or less. (May 1)
  • Executive Order 20-112, establishing the first phase of Florida’s recovery, requires residents to limit their personal interactions outside the home; encourages senior citizens and individuals with significant underlying medical conditions to stay at home; and recommends residents avoid nonessential travel and adhere to 14-day self-isolation following travel back to the state. (April 29)

SCHOOL PLANNING

K-12:

  • 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) 
  • Palm Beach County schools will tentatively open on August 31. (July 21) 
  • Orange County schools will reopen on August 21, offering students the choice between on-campus and virtual classes. (July 17) 
  • Broward County schools will tentatively open with virtual classes only on August 19. (July 15) 
  • Palm Beach County school board members have agreed to hold classes online in the fall. (July 9) 
  • Miami-Dade County Public Schools released a tentative reopening plan. Parents can vote on whether they prefer to have their children attend traditional classes in-person or participate in virtual distance learning. (July 8) 
  • Hillsborough County students must wear masks when attending school in the fall. (July 7)
  • The Florida Department of Education has ordered all public and charter schools to reopen school buildings at least five days per week this fall — unless there are any health or executive orders issued to the contrary. (July 7)
  • Duval County Public Schools approved the use of protective barriers in the classroom in the fall. (July 1)
  • Broward County students must wear masks when attending school in the fall. (July 1)
  • Governor DeSantis announced that schools may open at full capacity in August. (June 11)

State Higher Education:

  • A list of Florida colleges and universities planning to reopen in the fall can be found here.
  • Governor DeSantis announced that all Florida colleges and universities will move online through the end of the year. (March 17)

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