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Florida’s “Stay-at-Home” Order and What it Means for Businesses

On April 1, 2020, in response to the State’s ongoing efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-91, which is a State-wide “Stay-at-Home” Order. The Order goes into effect Friday, April 3, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., and expires on April 30, 2020, unless extended by subsequent order (the full text of the Order is available here). 

What does the Stay-at-Home Order actually say?

The Stay-at-Home Order provides, in relevant part, that:

  • Senior citizens and individuals with significant underlying medical conditions shall stay at home, and take all measures necessary to limit their exposure to COVID-19; and
  • All persons in Florida shall limit their movements and personal interactions outside of their home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities.

What are considered Essential Services

As of now, the Order defines "essential services" to include:

  • The services detailed in the Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, v. 2 (March 28, 2020), issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (full text of DHS’s guidance available here); and
  • The services designated as “essential” by Executive Order 20-89, which incorporates a detailed list promulgated by the Miami-Dade County Emergency Order 07-20, as amended (full text of Executive Order 20-89 available here).

The Governor has directed the State Coordinating Officer (“SCO”) to publish an exhaustive list of all qualifying “essential services” that will be available on the Division of Emergency Management’s website at www.floridadisaster.org and the Florida Department of Health’s website at www.floridahealth.gov

As of April 2, 2020, the SCO’s list has not been published.However, generally speaking, the categories of private-sector industries that are deemed “essential” under EO 20-91 include, but are not limited to: (i) Heath Care; (ii) Transportation and Logistics; (iii) Energy; (iv) Food and Agriculture; (v) Communications and Information Technology; (vii) Manufacturing; and (viii) Commercial Facilities.

What if it is unclear if my business is providing an “essential service”?

The guidance and regulations are continuing to be updated daily, and our team at BMD is closely monitoring this ever-evolving situation. Therefore, if you are not sure whether your business is considered “essential,” or if you have any other questions regarding the Stay-at-Home Order or any other COVID-19 related questions, please contact Matt Jackson, Josh La Bouef or Cody Westmoreland in our Jacksonville office at 904.366.1500, as we are standing by ready to help you and your business navigate the challenges we are all facing.

Lockdowns, Landlords, & Litigation: Abercrombie & Fitch Flips The Script on Simon Property Group Inc.

Novel litigation between commercial property owners and tenants arises from COVID-19 lockdowns. Typically, owners sue for nonpayment of rent. But in Franklin County, Ohio, a large retail tenant turned the tables and sued the owner to recoup payments.

UPDATE: Ohio Businesses Remain Required to Post Exceptions to State-Wide Mask Mandate at All Entrances

On August 1, 2020, Lance D. Himes, Interim Director of the Ohio Department of Health, issued an amended order continuing the requirement that Ohio businesses post at all entrances any permitted exceptions they provide to customers, patrons, visitors, contractors, vendors and similar individuals to use facial coverings.

2020 Marcum National Construction Survey Marks a New, Post-Pandemic Construction Environment

The results of the 2020 Marcum National Construction Survey are in, and the construction industry’s outlook for the remainder of 2020 and beginning of 2021 remains cautiously optimistic despite the COVID-19 global pandemic. Ability to find skilled labor, healthcare expenses, and material costs remain the top concerns for the industry, while “lack of future work” joins the list.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits in the Wake of COVID-19

Several major “essential business” employers, including Walmart and Tyson, have been served with wrongful death lawsuits in relation to COVID-19. As many Ohio employees begin to return to work, employers should be prudent in following workplace safety practices.

We are Working in a Virtual, Video-Conferencing World – But What About Wiretapping?

Businesses and other organizations often have a need or desire to record telephone conversations related to their business interests and customer dealings; however, this practice is not always permissible as federal and state laws vary on this issue. Knowing and understanding your jurisdiction’s rules and regulations on this practice is essential to remaining in compliance with the law.