Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order for the entire state of Florida on Wednesday.
The order goes into effect at midnight and lasts for 30 days. It orders people to remain in their homes, only to leave for essential travel such as purchasing groceries, seeking medical care, banking, or putting gas in their car.
“It’s really an order to individuals saying you need to, you can engage in essential services, essential activities, but other than that you need to stick close to home. We’re not necessarily saying anything to non-essential businesses. But under the order you would not be able to go into some of these things and conduct business and be able to follow the order,” DeSantis said at a news conference on Wednesday.
See DeSantis’ full announcement below:
The order comes after President Donald Trump issued a 30-day extension of federal guidelines urging all Americans to stay at home, work remotely whenever possible, avoid all non-essential travel, and increase handwashing.
“When the president did the 30-day extension, to me, that was, ‘People aren’t just going to go back to work,’” DeSantis said on Wednesday. “That’s a national pause button.”
DeSantis had issued a “safer at home” order on Monday for four South Florida counties which had seen the largest coronavirus outbreaks in the state. He previously said he did not deem a statewide lockdown necessary because many smaller counties had not seen significant outbreaks.
Over the weekend, he also issued an order halting all vacation rentals in the state for two weeks, in addition to screening all incoming traffic from Louisiana or New York City. Incoming passengers on flights from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will also undergo screening at airports as a result of the order.
On Tuesday, 13 Democratic members of Congress had sent to a letter to DeSantis calling on him to “immediately issue a statewide stay-at-home order to save lives,” Fox News reported.
“This pandemic has not respected global borders so it certainly will not respect county borders,” the letter said. “We cannot wait, we cannot leave this decision to county or municipal governments.”
According to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus case tracking map on Wednesday afternoon, there are now 6,741 confirmed cases in Florida and 85 deaths, making it the fifth-most affected state in the country behind New York, New Jersey, California, and Michigan.
Nationwide, there are now 199,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 4,300 deaths.