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Governor shuts down bars and nightclubs, limits restaurants in Florida effective 5pm today

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From Governor's Press Office

Today, Governor Ron DeSantis issued an Executive Order that will reduce density and crowds in restaurants, bars, nightclubs and beaches to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Bars and Nightclubs

Under the direction of Governor DeSantis, all bars and nightclubs throughout Florida will close for the next 30 days. Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) will be enforcing and providing further guidance.

Beaches

The Governor is directing parties accessing public beaches in the state of Florida to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance by limiting their gatherings to no more than 10 persons.

Restaurants

Restaurants across the state of Florida will now be required to limit customer entry to 50 percent of capacity. Seating must be staggered and limited to ensure seated parties are separated by a distance of at least six feet, in accordance with CDC guidelines. Restaurants are encouraged to remain open and expand take-out and delivery services. Additional information will be provided by DBPR.

Full Executive Order:

STATE OF FLORIDA

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR EXECUTIVE ORDER NUMBER 20-68

(Emergency Management - COVID-19)

WHEREAS, Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a severe acute respiratory illness that can spread among humans through respiratory transmission and presents with symptoms similar to those of influenza; and

WHEREAS, on March 1, 2020, I issued Executive Order number 20-51 directing the Florida Department of Health to issue a Public Health Emergency; and

WHEREAS, on March 1, 2020, the State Surgeon General and State Health Officer declared a Public Health Emergency exists in the State of Florida as a result of COVID-19, and

WHEREAS, on March 9, 2020, I issued Executive Order 20-52 declaring a state of emergency for the entire State of Florida as a result of COVID-19; and

WHEREAS, on March 16, 2020, President Donald J. Trump and the Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention (“CDC”) issued the 15 Days to Slow the Spread guidance advising individuals to adopt far-reaching social distancing measures, such as working from home and avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, and

WHEREAS, as Governor, I am responsible for meeting the dangers presented to this state and its people by this emergency.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RON DESANTIS, as Governor of Florida, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Article IV, Section (1)(a) of the Florida Constitution, Chapter 252, Florida Statutes, and all other applicable laws, promulgate the following Executive Order to take immediate effect:

Section 1. Bars, Pubs and Nightclubs

A. Pursuant to sections 252.36(5)(g)-(h), Florida Statutes, any licensee authorized to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on premises that derive more than 50% of its gross revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages shall suspend all sale of alcoholic beverages for thirty days from the date of this order, effective at 5 p.m. today, March 17, 2020.

B. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation shall utilize its authorities under Florida law to further implement and enforce the provisions of this Section and shall take additional measures with respect to bars, pubs and nightclubs as necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare.

Section 2.

Beaches

Pursuant to section 252.36(5)(k), Florida Statutes, I direct parties accessing public beaches in the State of Florida to follow the CDC guidance by limiting theirs gatherings to no more than 10 persons, distance themselves from other parties by 6 feet, and support beach closures at the discretion of local authorities.

Section 3.

Restaurants

A. Pursuant to section 252.36(5)(g), Florida Statutes, a restaurant shall immediately limit its occupancy to 50% of its current building occupancy.

B. Pursuant to section 252.36(5)(g), Florida Statutes, a restaurant shall follow the CDC guidance by ensuring, at minimum, a 6-foot distance between any group of patrons and limiting parties to no more than 10 individuals.

C. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation shall ensure all restaurants implement employee screening and prohibit any employee from entering the restaurant premises if they meet any of the criteria listed below:

1) Any person infected with COVID-19 who has not had two consecutive negative test results separated by 24 hours;

2) Any person showing, presenting signs or symptoms of, or disclosing the presence of a respiratory infection, including cough, fever, shortness of breath or sore throat;

3) Any person who has been in contact with any person(s) known to be infected with COVID-19, who has not yet tested negative for COVID-19 within the past 14 days;

4) Any person who traveled through any airport within the past 14 days; or

5) Any person who traveled on a cruise ship within the past 14 days.

D. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation shall utilize its authorities under Florida law to further implement and enforce the provisions of this Section and shall take additional measures with respect to bars, pubs and nightclubs as necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare.

For purposes of this section, "restaurant" shall include any Food Service Establishment, licensed under Chapter 500, Florida Statutes, and Public Food Service Establishment, licensed under Chapter 509, Florida Statutes.

Section 4

This Executive Order shall expire thirty days from this date unless extended.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Florida to f fixed, at Tallahassee, this 17th day of March 2020.

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