TAMPA, Fla. — Florida, like many other states, is doing everything it can to fight the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19, including placing an order on all it's residents to stay home.
The mandatory safer-at-home order, which is set to end April 30, has confused many across the state due to its official title: 'Safer At Home.'
So what exactly is the difference between a 'safer-at-home' order and 'stay-at-home' order? We're breaking it down for you below:
Safer At Home
A safer-at-home order urges residents to stay in their homes and only go outside for essential services or activities.
Those essential services or activities may include: going to buy groceries, picking up medications or participating in recreational activities such as walking or biking.
A safer-at home order also allows for non-essential businesses to remain open as long as they can either "limit capacity or self-impose physical distancing in their store," according to the National League of Cities.
In Florida, DeSantis said the state would follow the guidelines outlined by the Department of Homeland Security when it comes to which businesses, and workers, are considered essential and non-essential.
Stay At Home
A stay-at-home order, while similar to a safer-at-home- order, can include more "aggressive measures."
For instance, non-essential businesses are forced to close despite having the ability to prevent person-to-person spread, as set by the Centers for Disease Control and and Prevention’s guidelines.
Another measure that can be taken in a stay-at-home order is that residents can get into legal trouble if they violate any of the restrictions.
"In some areas, local police forces have opted for an approach that prioritizes educating the public instead of criminalization or financial penalties," the National League of Cities says on its website. "While some authorities have made the decision to prioritize education over enforcement, other jurisdictions are considering stricter enforcement as COVID-19 continues to spread in their communities. From higher fines to misdemeanors, some cities are looking to establish stiffer consequences for citizens who do not comply with movement restricting orders."
Florida's safer-at-home order does not state whether officers and deputies have to take a certain approach. At this time, most counties in the state have leaned towards educating the public.
Main Take away
The most important thing to remember during the coronavirus pandemic is to follow whichever restrictions your state has ordered to protect you and your family.
According to the CDC, in Florida this includes:
Also, don't forget that this is what you can and cannot do in Florida from now until April 30:
- Go to the grocery store
- Go to the pharmacy
- Go to the doctor (call them before going for instructions)
- Pick up food from a restaurant
- Take your pet to the veterinarian
- Enjoy outdoor activities, such as going for a walk, or jog, as long as you do not gather in a group of more than 10 and stay at least six feet away from each other
- Go to work at any place that is NOT an essential service as defined in the order
- Visit friends or family socially
- Visit someone in a hospital, nursing home, or ALF, except for a few limited exceptions. Please contact the specific facility for further information.
- Gather in groups of more than 10, or be closer than six feet to people.
As we all navigate the "new normal" under the coronavirus pandemic, remember that we are in this together!