Florida - COVID-19 Covered

Florida

Total Cases: 1,627,603 (January 23)
Tests Administered: 9,770,806 (January 21)
Fatalities: 25,011 (January 23)
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 issued an executive order that relaxes previous restaurant restrictionsThis same order also dropped travel restrictions on people coming to Florida from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. (August 6) 
  • 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)

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • 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 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 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 extended the state of emergency in Florida for another 60 days through January 2. (November 6) 
  • 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.

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