Florida - COVID-19 Covered

Florida

Total Cases: 56,830 (June 2)
Tests Administered: 1,041,560 (June 1)
Fatalities: 2,460 (June 2)
Testing:
  • Governor DeSantis announced that The Home Depot and Publix have agreed to open accessible testing sites at select outlets. (May 29)
  • The Florida Department of Health has begun providing a report detailing surveillance data for every community in the state. (May 12)
  • The DOH has launched a mobile app intended to gather information from residents about potential COVID-19 contact. (May 7)
  • Governor DeSantis has directed the Health Care Administration to issue a rule requiring hospitals to test all individuals discharged to a long-term care facility. The rule also requires long-term care facilities to transfer COVID-19 positive residents if the facility is not equipped for appropriate care. (May 6)
  • Florida has debuted a mobile testing facility for use at long-term care and assisted living facilities that will be able to conduct 500 45-minute tests per day. (May 6)
  • FDA-approved antibody tests are expected to arrive on May 1; Governor DeSantis said that the state plans to increase testing for people who are showing symptoms of the virus or believe they were exposed. (April 27)
  • The DOH directs individuals to call their doctor or county health department to determine whether a test is necessary. (FL Health)
  • The state’s COVID-19 Call Center is 866-779-6121. (FL Health)

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)

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • Universal Orlando Resort announced that select hotels will begin a phased re-opening 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 6 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)
  • Counties may seek approval to operate vacation rentals from the County Administrator. (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)

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • 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)
  • 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 20-121 extended mortgage foreclosure and eviction relief through June 2. (May 14)
  • The Department of Children and Families announced an extension for the month of May for residents participating in the SNAP and TANF programs. (April 30)
  • Florida Power & Light’s bid to provide customers a 25% discount on electricity consumed in May has been approved by state regulators. (April 28)
  • 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)
  • Governor DeSantis announced the members of the Re-Open Florida Task Force’s industry working group (April 21) and executive committee. (April 20)
  • Governor DeSantis’ task force has projected that more than 40% of tourism, recreation, retail, real estate, and transportation jobs are at risk. (April 20)
  • Executive Order No 104 suspended biweekly reporting requirements for recipients of unemployment benefits. (April 16)
  • 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)
  • Executive Order No 94 suspended statutes for mortgage foreclosures and evictions for 45 days. (April 2)
  • 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)
  • Governor DeSantis announced that President Trump approved Florida’s Disaster Declaration to provide federal funds to help communities recover from the crisis. (March 25)

Business Support & Resources:

  • 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

Shelter-In-Place Orders:

  • 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)

Curfews:

  • No records found.
  • Counties with curfews in place include Gadsden, Hillsborough, Leon, Manatee, and Osceola. Cities include Coconut Creek, Coral Gables, Delray Beach, Hialeah, Hialeah Gardens, Homestead, Key Biscayne, Miami Gardens, Miami Lakes, Palm Beach, and Sweetwater. (April 14)

Social-Distancing Guidelines:

  • Governor DeSantis announced that all state restrictions on youth activities – including summer camp and sports – have been lifted. (May 22)
  • Executive Order 20-112, establishing the first phase of Florida’s recovery, requires residents to avoid congregating in groups of more than ten. (April 29)
  • Governor DeSantis issued an executive order requiring New York-area travelers to self-quarantine (March 23), and expanded the order to include people entering the state from Louisiana on Interstate 10. (March 27)

Delivery Services:

  • Kitchens are allowed to operate for the purposes of delivery or take-out. (March 20) Under Phase One of the state’s reopening, restaurants may operate at 50 percent capacity. (May 15)

SCHOOL CLOSURES

K-12:

  • Schools will remain closed through the academic year during Phase One of Florida’s re-opening. (April 29)

State Higher Education:

  • Governor DeSantis announced that all Florida colleges and universities will move online through the end of the year. (March 17)

Produced by Marathon Strategies, an independent PR firm that delivers intelligent communications and research solutions. For information, email Phil Singer at COVID-19@marathonstrategies.com