TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The State of Florida is responding to COVID-19. In an effort to keep Florida residents and visitors safe and aware regarding the status of the virus, the Florida Department of Health will issue this update every day, seven days per week.
Governor Ron DeSantis is in constant communication with Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz and State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees as the State of Florida continues to monitor and respond to the threat of COVID-19.
Today, in a briefing at the State Emergency Operations Center, Governor DeSantis announced more actions on COVID-19:
- Today, Governor DeSantis issued four executive orders:
- Executive Order 20-69: this Executive Order waives in-person meeting requirements so that public officials can safely continue their duties without impediment.
- Executive Order 20-70: this Executive Order directs all movie theatres, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys, arcades, gymnasiums, fitness studios and beaches to close in Broward County and Palm Beach County.
- Executive Order 20-71: this Executive Order directs all restaurants and food establishments within the state to suspend on-premises food and alcohol consumption for customers. The order also requires the closure of all gyms throughout the state.
- Executive Order 20-72: this Executive Order prohibits medically unnecessary, non-urgent or non-emergency procedures or surgeries.
- The Broward Memorial Healthcare System drive-through test site has collected 407 samples as of 4 p.m., nearly double the amount anticipated. This site will continue to be open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
- The Department of Health has more than 700 school nurses ready to help with the COVID-19 response.
- The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has approved the first two Small Business Emergency Bridge Loans to businesses impacted by COVID-19.
- Governor DeSantis directed DEO to Waive Job Search Requirements for DEO Reemployment
- Enables DEO to no longer require a claimant to register with the state job search portal to actively seek employment.
- Governor DeSantis directed DEO to waive penalties to employers
- Currently an employer is “charged” for every employee that is laid off and this cost is reflected in the employer’s unemployment insurance paid to the state.
- Waiving this penalty will eliminate any perverse incentive an employer may have to keep an employee on the payroll but with dramatically reduced or deferred hours thereby preventing them from seeking unemployment assistance.
- Governor DeSantis directed DCF to waive work requirements for SNAP and TANF.
- The federal “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” allows states to suspend these work requirements.
- Governor DeSantis directed DCF to work with the USDA to submit a plan to allow families whose children are eligible for free and reduced-price school lunch to receive SNAP benefits.
- The federal “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” encourages utilization of this proposal which will provide additional benefits to parents of more than 2.1 million children in Florida.
- Governor DeSantis directed DCF to pursue extending food, cash and Medicaid benefits for an extra two months for those families who are scheduled to recertify to ensure that health care, food and cash assistance benefits are provided without interruption.
- This will provide continuity for Florida families who are currently receiving SNAP, TANF or Medicaid benefits without requiring them to interact with the department during this public health emergency.