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Manatee County approves curfew order for residents amid coronavirus concerns

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Posted at 4:56 PM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 17:25:18-04

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Officials in Manatee County voted on Friday to enact a curfew for its residents to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Manatee County Commissioners agreed to enact a temporary local curfew, effective Friday at 11 p.m., which allows law enforcement officers to "enforce group gathering restrictions" on private properties.

The announcement comes as the entire state of Florida is under a "safer-at-home" order. This week, Governor Ron DeSantis ordered all Floridians to "limit movements and personal interactions outside their home."

Exceptions are made for those going out to get essential services -- like to the grocery stores, pharmacies or gas stations -- or activities like going out on a run.

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County officials said on Thursday morning that the curfew order will send a clear message to Manatee County residents that social distancing orders must be taken seriously and are to not be ignored.

According to a press release from Manatee County, the proposed curfew would prohibit nonessential travel -- travel that is not involving food, medicine, essential supplies, employment -- from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. The curfew will be enforced seven days a week.

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The county will make a vote every seven days to either change or extend the rule.

As of Friday afternoon, the county has seen more than 90 cases of coronavirus and three people have died from the virus.

Florida's mandatory safer-at-home order goes until April 30.

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