ANNA MARIA ISLAND – The executive order that Gov. Ron DeSantis issued Wednesday pertaining to essential businesses and services is now in effect.
“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,” according to Executive Order (EO) 20-91.
Issued in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the governor’s emergency order took effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday and will remain in effect until April 30, unless canceled or extended by the governor.
The governor’s order left city and county governments with approximately 36 hours to interpret the order and figure out how to comply with it and enforce it.
Section 2 of the governor’s order includes the header “Safer at Home” and sets forth which businesses are essential and allowed to remain open and which businesses are non-essential and must remain closed while the order remains in effect.
“Essential services means and encompasses the list detailed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce and any subsequent lists published,” according to EO 20-91.
The Department of Homeland Security guidance can be found at the agency’s website.
“Essential services also include those businesses and activities designated by Executive Order 20-89 and its attachment which consists of a list propounded by Miami-Dade County in multiple orders,” EO 20-91 says.
Miami-Dade County’s list of essential and non-essential businesses can be viewed at the county website.
The directives issued by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez took effect in Miami-Dade County on Thursday, March 19.
According to Bradenton Beach Mayor John Chappie and Lt. John Cosby of the Bradenton Beach Police Department, the city of Bradenton Beach will use the Miami-Dade County order as its essential/non-essential guidelines. Cosby is the city’s emergency operations manager.
Section 3 of EO 20-91 includes the header “Essential Activities” and says, “For purposes of this order and the conduct it limits, ‘essential activities’ means and encompasses the following:
- Attending religious services conducted in churches, synagogues and houses of worship;
- Participating in recreational activities – consistent with social distancing guidelines – such as walking, biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, running or swimming:
- Taking care of pets;
- Caring for or otherwise assisting a loved one or friend.”
EO 20-91 says, “A social gathering in a public space is not an essential activity. Local jurisdictions shall ensure that groups of people greater than 10 are not permitted to congregate in any public space.”
It also says, “Other essential activities may be added to this list.”
Bradenton Beach compliance
On Thursday afternoon, Chappie and Cosby discussed Bradenton Beach’s plans to comply with EO 20-91.
“Bradenton Beach is showing a united front with Manatee County, with one set of rules for all. Bradenton Beach is using the Miami-Dade County guidelines set forth in the governor’s order,” Chappie said.
“According to our discussion yesterday, we are using the Miami-Dade County order. It’s a lot clearer than the federal list,” Cosby said.
Cosby was referring to the discussions that took place at Wednesday’s emergency management policy meeting. City and county officials now engage in these policy meetings regularly, sometimes daily, via conference call.
What’s in a name?
Chappie and Cosby were asked if they considered Executive Order 20-91 to be a lockdown order, as some media reports have reported.
“No, not even close,” Cosby said.
“No,” Chappie added.
They also said they didn’t consider EO 20-91 to be a stay-at-home order.
When asked how they refer to the order, Cosby and Chappie both said, “Governor’s Executive Order 20-91.”
Non-essential and essential businesses
According to the Miami-Dade County order, businesses that must close include arts and craft supply stores: barbers, beauty salons and nail studios; bookstores; casinos; clothing boutiques; indoor amusement parks, driving ranges; jewelry stores; malls; music supply stores; pawn shops; social clubs, tennis clubs and golf courses; fishing charters; souvenir stores; spas; sporting goods stores; tutoring centers; music classes; toy stores and children’s stores.
“All medical facilities, doctors’ offices, and airlines will remain open,” the Miami-Dade order says.
Businesses that can remain open according to the Miami-Dade County order include architectural, engineering and landscape services; assisted living facilities, nursing homes, adult day care centers and senior residential facilities; banks; businesses that interact with customers solely through electronic or telephonic means; business operating at any airport, seaport or other government facility; childcare facilities limited to a maximum of 10 children and teachers in any one group; construction sites currently in operation, regardless of building type; convenience stores; factories, manufacturing facilities, bottling plants and other industrial sites; food cultivation, including farming, livestock and fishing; gas stations; grocery stores; hardware stores; home-based care for seniors, adults or children; landscaping and pool services; laundromats; logistics providers; mail and shipping services; natural and propane gas providers; newspapers, TV, radio and media services; pet supply stores; pharmacies; professional services, such as legal and accounting services; restaurant kitchens – for pick-up and delivery only; services providing food, shelter, social services and other necessities for the economically disadvantaged; taxis and private transportation providers; telecommunications providers and waste management service, including collection and disposal.
“Today and tomorrow, I’ll be going around to the businesses that don’t meet the criteria and letting them know that they don’t meet the criteria. In Bradenton Beach, most of those businesses have already closed,” Cosby said.
“The businesses that are not compliant will be given a verbal warning. They’ll be educated that they are not an essential business, and if need be will be provided with a copy of the governor’s order. The second offense will be a summons to appear, which will include a citation. The third offense will be a physical arrest, and so would any violation after three offenses,” Cosby said.
Chappie and Cosby were asked if EO 20-91 impacts the public beaches in Bradenton Beach that were ‘closed’ by the county’s emergency order on March 20. The county order resulted in the public parking lots at Coquina Beach, Cortez Beach and Manatee Beach being closed, but the Island’s law enforcement officials still allow groups of 10 or less on the beach – and those groups must maintain a six-foot distance from others.
“The county order stands as it is,” Chappie said. “We’re having good compliance with the order. Our police department is continually monitoring the situation out on the beaches. We really have had no problems whatsoever,” Chappie said.
“Our building department has some protocols they’re following too with regards to building permits, inspections and things like that – and that will be posted online at the city website,” Chappie said.
“Anything that has to do with construction is still considered essential. They have to have less than 10 people on-site and they have to maintain the six-foot distance,” Cosby said.
Cosby believes DeSantis will extend EO 20-87 – the order he issued on March 27 that prohibits new vacation rental guests from checking in until the order expires after 14 days.
“With the governor enacting this order (20-91) and extended this order to the end of the month, I’m feeling pretty confident he’s going to extend that order (20-87) also. One without the other doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Cosby said.
Cosby said businesses that rent golf carts, scooters, bicycles and other mobility devices are not considered essential.
“There’s nothing there that allows that,” he said.
Regarding incoming flights that bring more people to the Island, Cosby said, “The airlines are not doing flights from certain areas. We heard from the airport today. For March traffic, they were at 5%.”
Cosby said the Bridge Street Pier remains open, but social distancing requirements must be followed.
Anna Maria’s response
On Thursday, Anna Maria City Attorney Becky Vose provided her responses to questions also posed to Chappie and Cosby.
As to whether she considers EO 20-91 a lockdown order, a stay at home order or a safer at home order, Vose said, “I am not aware of any legal definition of any of those terms. The order does what it says it does – nothing more, nothing less. We are referring to the order as EO 20-91.”
Vose said the order’s impact on the city of Anna Maria’s beaches was “to be determined.”
Regarding essential and non-essential businesses and services, Vose said, “Although not crystal clear, E.O. 20-91 provides guidance as to which businesses are non-essential. Enforcement is to be determined.”
Vose said the city of Anna Maria would use the Department of Homeland Security’s guidance and the Miami-Dade County order to determine essential and non-essential businesses and services.
Vose shared Cosby’s belief that DeSantis would likely extend the vacation rental check-in prohibitions contained in EO 20-87 to coincide with the April 30 expiration date of E.O. 20-91.