Our Florida Government Relations team is actively monitoring legislative, regulatory and administrative changes in Florida related to the novel COVID-19 pandemic.
Below are direct links to governmental websites at the state, county and municipal levels for the areas that Buchanan serves in Florida. We are compiling these resources for our clients and firm friends providing direct access to the vital information needed for your business and personal use during this unprecedented time.
If you need additional resources or have specific questions, please visit the Buchanan Florida Government Relations page for more information.
LATEST UPDATES – COVID-19 ALERTS
NEW EXECUTIVE ORDERS
SENIORS AND HIGH RISK ADVISORY TO STAY
Governor Ron DeSantis has issued an executive order instructing people age 65 and older and people with serious medical conditions to stay home for the next two weeks. Surgeon General Scott Rivkees has issued a health advisory about people 65 and older and people with serious "underlying medical conditions" staying in their homes. The serious conditions include such things as chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, serious heart conditions, severe obesity and people in cancer treatment.
AIRPORT SCREENING FROM TRI-STATE AREA
Governor signed an Executive Order requiring anyone traveling to the state through an airport from New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut to self-isolate for a period of 14 days or the duration of their time in the state, whichever is shorter.
MAJOR DISASTER DECLARED AS FLORIDA RESPONDS TO
Florida has received federal approval requesting designation of a major disaster area. This will now free up tens to hundreds of millions of dollars in federal resources, including access to disaster unemployment compensation for people who exhausted their benefits or were ineligible (ie, gig workers or self-employed). Additional Business grants and loans will be available, and the state and its communities will be able to seek reimbursement for their expenditures in responding to the disaster.
STATE OF FLORIDA – EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE
For a full complete list of Executive Orders from Governor DeSantis and more information on COVID-19, visit Executive Orders and the Office of the Governor.
STATEWIDE DECLARATIONS OF EMERGENCY AND EXECUTIVE
On March 1st 2020, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-51 declaring a public health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On March 9th 2020, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-52, declaring a State of Emergency in Florida. By declaring a State of Emergency, Governor DeSantis is ensuring that state and local governments have the resources and flexibility they need to prepare and respond to this pandemic.
Other Executive Orders to Note:
- In an effort to conserve essential medical supplies and resources used by health care professionals, including personal protective equipment, Governor DeSantis has employed the following measures
- All healthcare facilities, including hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, office surgery centers, and dental orthotic and endodontic offices are prohibited from providing medically unnecessary or non-urgent procedures or surgeries.
- Procedures to delay include: some endoscopy, most cataract and lens surgeries, non-urgent spine and orthotic procedures, and cosmetic procedures.
- Permissible procedures include: removal of cancerous tumors, transplants, limb-threatening vascular surgeries, trauma-related procedures, and dental care related to the relief of pain and management of infection.
- Governor DeSantis has expanded the restrictions originally imposed by Executive Order 20-68, restricting bars, pubs, and nightclubs from selling alcohol and ordering every restaurant to limit its capacity to 50%. Executive Order 20-71 now directs the following:
- Alcohol Sales: all vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on premises to suspend the sale of alcoholic beverages by the drink or in sealed containers for consumption on the premises. However, such vendors may continue to sell alcoholic beverages in sealed containers for consumption off-premises.
- Restaurants and Bars: all restaurants and food establishments licensed under Chapters 500 and 509, Florida Statutes to suspend on-premises food consumption for customers. Such establishments may operate their kitchens for delivery and take-out services.
- Gyms and Fitness Centers: the closure of all gymnasiums and fitness centers. This does not include gymnasiums and fitness centers which are amenities of hotels which have a capacity of 10 persons or less, are an amenity of a residential building, are interior to any fire or police stations, or are located inside any single-occupant office building.
- Following an opinion by Attorney General Ashley Moody delivered on March 19, 2020 indicating that certain provisions of Florida law require a physical quorum be present for local government bodies to conduct official business, and that local government bodies may only conduct meetings by teleconferencing or other technological means if either a statute permits a quorum to be present by means other than in person, or that the in person requirement for constituting a quorum is lawfully suspended during the state of emergency, Governor DeSantis has ordered the following:
- Suspension of any Florida Statute that requires a quorum to be present in person or requires a local government body to meet at a specific public place
- Local governments bodies may utilize communications media technology, such as telephonic and video conferencing, as provided in Section 120.54(5)(b)1, Florida Statutes.
Protecting the Most Vulnerable
Governor DeSantis directed the Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Agency for Health Care Administration to take action to restrict access to vulnerable populations for those who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Due to the increasing number of cases statewide, Governor DeSantis directed the Florida Division of Emergency Management to expand the current order to prohibit all visitation to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult care homes, long-term care homes and adult group homes statewide for the next 30 days.
Emergency Bridge Loan Available & Other Economic
Governor Ron DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program on March 16, 2020 to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The bridge loan program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses (2-100 employees) that experienced economic injury from COVID-19. The maximum loan is $50,000, but can be increased to $100,000 in special cases warranted by need. The application period opened March 17, 2020 and continues until May 8, 2020. Applications are being accepted through May 8, 2020 and can be accessed at www.floridadisasterloan.org.
The Department also announced resources the Reemployment Assistance Program if a Floridians' employment has been negatively impacted as a result of the mitigation efforts in Florida to stop the spread of COVID-19, you may be eligible to receive Reemployment Assistance.
Businesses Encouraged to Respond
The Florida Business Damage Assessment survey has been activated to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida's local business operations. The survey, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will evaluate businesses affected by COVID-19 and the impacts the virus has had on the local economy so actions to implement appropriate relief programs can begin. The survey can be taken at here
NEW COUNTY/MUNICIPAL ORDERS
CITY OF MIAMI ORDERS RESIDENTS TO SHELTER IN
The City of Miami is ordering all residents to shelter in place and remain at home until further notice, effective March 24, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., in order to help halt the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. All non-essential travel within the City of Miami, including by by automobile, public transit, motorcyle, etc., is prohibited until further notice.
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY – RECOMMENDED SHELTER IN
1. Prohibits more than 10 people gathering on any public right of way or building.
2. Urges residents to stay home except for essential travel or work.
MIAMI BEACH MANDATORY SHELTER IN PLACE
Miami Beach has ordered their residents to stay home as much as possible, allowing them only to leave their houses to exercise, get food and medicine, go to work if they have essential jobs and do other activities deemed necessary.
LEON COUNTY STAY AT HOME ORDER
Tuesday's stay-at-home order by Leon County Commission Chairman Bryan Desloge and Mayor John Dailey began effectively at 11 p.m. Wednesday. Any gathering of more than 10 people would be dispersed by law enforcement and punishable by a fine. A curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. also goes into effect Wednesday.
GAINESVILLE AND ALACHUA COUNTY STAY AT HOME
Effective 12 a.m. (midnight) March 24, 2020, an Emergency Stay at Home and Close All Non-Essential Businesses order will go into effect.
ORANGE COUNTY STAY AT HOME ORDER
Orange county stay at home/essential business closure order has been issued. Residents will still be able to go out to buy groceries, medicine and essential supplies but not essential retails stores and businesses will close.
KEY BISCAYNE TRAVEL LIMIT ORDER
All non-residents barred from entry and all residents barred from non-essential travel within the village.
BROWARD COUNTY NON ESSENTIAL BUSINESS
All non-essential retail and commercial business locations are ordered closed except to the extent necessary to perform minimum basic operations.
BROWARD AND PALM BEACH COUNTY CLOSURES
In an effort to minimize COVID-19 exposure to residents of Broward and Palm Beach Counties, Governor DeSantis has ordered closures of non-essential businesses.
DIRECT LINKS TO STATE AGENCIES AND
Florida agencies and departmental websites are provided below wherein you can access agency specific COVID-19 information relating to the areas of expertise for each entity. We included the direct link to these sites rather than summarize information, for most sites, because this information sometimes changes daily and these links will help ensure you have the most up to date accurate information.
- The State Emergency Operations Center has been activated at a Level 1 and the National Guard has been mobilized.
- Because Florida has declared a State of Emergency, all counties has been designated Category B under the Public Assistance Program. In order for an entity to participate in the Federal Emergency Management Agency Public Assistance Program, the entity must complete a Request for Public Assistance (RPA). The deadline to request assistance is currently April 12, 2020. Directions to submit the RPA form can be found here.
- For those wishing to learn more about the Public Assistance Program, FDEM and FEMA are offering training sessions for potential applicants beginning on March 23, 2020.
- If your facility is running low on supplies, call your county Emergency Management Office so that a Mission Request can be added on your facility's behalf. Fill out an Emergency Requisition Request Form to submit to your Emergency Management Office to receive a mission number.
- If you are not sure how to complete the request, please reference the resource request process document prepared by the Florida Hospital Association for more information.
Florida Department of
The Department of Health's Website has numerous resources including helpful information about the virus, how to prevent and prepare, and what to do if someone is concerned they might have it and where to go to be tested. The site also includes information regarding the active cases currently reported in Florida. Among other things, it enables the extension of deadlines for compliance with regulatory requirements and decision deadlines by state agencies.
Agency for Health Care Administration
The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) directs nursing homes and residential healthcare facilities to immediately review facility protocols including visitor screening to ensure precautions are in place to limit introduction of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided guidance to facilities to screen patients and visitors for symptoms of acute respiratory illness before entering healthcare facilities. Health Care facilities should keep up to date on recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19 on the CDC's website.
- Healthcare facilities should review the CDC guidance for Steps Healthcare Facilities Can Take Now to Prepare for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
- Facilities should also take advantage the significant resources provided by the Florida Department of Health, including frequently asked questions, such as what to do if you suspect a person may have COVID-19.
- Healthcare personnel caring for patients with confirmed or possible COVID-19 should adhere to CDC recommendations for infection prevention and control (IPC).
- The Agency encourages Healthcare Facilities to visit the Department of Health's dedicated COVID-19 webpage.
AHCA, in coordination with the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), is hosting ongoing statewide calls for hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, group homes, and adult family care home in conjunction with the Florida Hospital Association to provide the most up-to-date information regarding issued impacting the aging and vulnerable populations and restricting visitors. In addition, ACHA will be granting a 90-day extension to all licenses for health care provider and regulated facilities.
Florida Department of Business Professional
On March 16, 2020, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) issued DBPR Emergency Order 2020-01, suspending the license renewal deadline period for a period of 30 days following the existing renewal dealing for any license, permit, registration, or certificate with an expiration occurring in March or April. The order also provides that license renewal requirements for completion of continuing education, if applicable, are also suspended for the same time period.
Florida Department of Economic
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is currently surveying businesses and non-profits throughout the state of Florida who have been impacted by COVID-19. Businesses can access the Business Damage Assessment survey here. This is not an application for assistance.
Florida Department of
Commissioner Corcoran urges the cancelation of any mass gatherings, community events, and extracurricular activities, including sporting events of ten (10) or more people, school readiness, volunteer prekindergarten, public and private K-12, career and technical centers, and public and private colleges and universities.
All school districts and colleges and universities have transitioned to e-learning or distance learning for the remainder of the spring semester.
Additionally, all graduation ceremonies previously scheduled in May have been cancelled.
Florida Office of Financial
Commissioner Russell Weigel has issued a proclamation suspending filing requirement for branch office locations of securities broker-dealers, issuer-dealers, and investment advisers impacted by COVID-19. If a broker-dealer, issuer-dealer, or investment adviser is required by the emergency to relocate operations or displace personnel to a temporary location that is not currently filed as a branch office or identified as a regular non-branch location, the dealer, issuer/dealer, or investment adviser should use its best efforts to provide written notification to the OFR, as soon as possible, but no later than five (5) days, after establishing a new temporary office or space-sharing arrangement.
Florida Office of Insurance
The Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) has published a resource page on its website and will continuously update the page with important insurance resources. Most recently, OIR has extended the deadline to report claims data for the Assignment of Benefits (AOB) Data Call until June 1, 2020.
Florida Department of Management
The Division of State Purchasing organized the Florida Emergency Supplier Network and Florida Emergency Purchasing Network to assist state agencies and local governments with purchasing functions during emergencies.
Additional Resources and Helpful Links:
Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association
Florida Public Transportation Association
U.S. Small Business Administration COVID-19 Resources and Disaster Assistance
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Website
State University System of Florida— News & Updates
FLORIDA COURTS LINK COVID-19 RESOURCES
Florida Division of Administrative
Florida Supreme Court
The Florida Supreme Court (FSC) has created a COVID-19 emergency order page, with links to the Supreme Court, state circuit and appellate courts' most recent orders and information. Of note are blanket extensions of filing deadlines, cancellation of proceedings and authorization of the administration of oaths via audio-video equipment.
FLORIDA MUNICIPAL LINKS FOR COVID-19
City of Clearwater
City of Ft. Lauderdale
City of Jacksonville
City of Key West
City of Miami
City of Miami Beach
City of Orlando
City of Tallahassee
City of Tampa
City of Pensacola
City of St. Petersburg
COUNTY LINKS FOR COVID-19 RESOURCES
Indian River County
Palm Beach County
Santa Rosa County
St. Johns County
St. Lucie County
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.