TAMPA (WFLA) – Gov. Ron DeSantis has implemented a statewide stay-at-home order in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Florida now joins more than 30 states that have urged residents to stay home.
The governor’s order will go into effect Thursday at midnight and will be in place for 30 days. If any “essential service” is missing from the initial executive order, the governor says it can be added.
DeSantis said he consulted with the White House and spoke with President Donald Trump about the decision. He noted that the White House coronavirus task force’s extended guidelines from Tuesday night played a role in the decision, calling the president’s move a “national pause.”
“We’re going to be in this for another 30 days,” he said. “At this point, even though there’s a lot of places in Florida that have very low infection rates, it makes sense to make this move now.”
With residents being forced to stay at home except to carry out essential tasks or work in essential businesses, many are asking: what is an essential job?
The Department of Homeland Security has issued guidance explaining what industries and their employees are essential.
According to Homeland Security, the following industries are considered essential to the infrastructure of the country:
- Healthcare and public health
- Hospital and laboratory personnel, caregivers, mental health workers, doctors, nurses, researchers, pharmacists, dentists, social workers, technicians, funeral home and cemetery workers.
- Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders
- Police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians, 911 call center workers and those who oversee emergency service operations.
- Communications and information technology
- Technicians, operators, call centers, wireline and wireless providers, cable service providers, satellite operations, and manufacturers and distributors of communications equipment. Workers who support radio, television, and media service, including news reporters, weather forecasters, studio, and technicians for news gathering and reporting, data center operators, HVAC and electrical engineers, security personnel, IT managers, software and hardware engineers, and database administrators.
- Workers at manufacturing plants, workers in laboratories, workers at distribution facilities, workers who transport basic raw chemical materials to the producers of industrial and consumer goods, including hand sanitizers, food and food additives, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and paper products.
- Government facilities
- Election personnel, building employees, security staff, trade officials, custom workers, educators
- Critical manufacturing
- Workers who manufacture materials and products for medical supply chains, transportation, energy, communications, food and agriculture, chemical manufacturing, nuclear facilities, dam operations, water and wastewater treatment, emergency services, defense industrial base
- Defense industrial base
- Workers who support the U.S. military, including aerospace; mechanical and software engineers, manufacturing/production workers; IT support; security staff; security personnel; intelligence support, aircraft and weapon systems mechanics and maintainers.
- Utilities and telecommunications staffers, natural gas/propane workers, the electricity industry, engineers, cybersecurity/risk management staff, and environmental remediation.
- Bank employees, employees at other financial/lending institutions
- Food and agriculture
- Grocery store employees, pharmacy worker, some restaurant workers, including delivery drivers, company cafeterias, animal agriculture workers, and the food and beverage industries, farmers, food processing workers, warehouse workers, and food truck delivery drivers.
- Nuclear reactors, materials, and waste
- Transportation systems
- Mass transit workers, auto repair and maintenance workers, trash collectors, postal and shipping workers, air traffic controllers, air transportation employees, dispatchers, maintenance and repair technicians, warehouse workers, truck stop and rest area workers, and workers who maintain and inspect infrastructure.
- Public Works
- Workers who inspect and maintain dams, locks, levees, bridges, sewer main breaks, traffic signals and buried/underground utilities.
- Employees needed to operate and maintain drinking water and wastewater/drainage infrastructure.
Some stay-at-home orders will have more exceptions, depending on the state. It’s unclear at this time if other businesses would be considered essential to Florida’s economy.
In Florida, restaurants, bars, taverns, pubs, banquet halls, cocktail lounges, breweries, cabarets, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys, arcades, gyms, fitness studios and beaches are considered non-essential.
As always, check with your employer before you decide to stay home.
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