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Is Florida Open for Business in the Wake of the Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 20-91?

Is Florida Open for Business in the Wake of the Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 20-91?

On April 1, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-91, which directed individuals starting April 3, 2020, at 12:01am to limit their movements and personal interactions outside of their home “to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities.”  Executive Order 20-91, § 1.B.  Rather than delineating specifically what is an “essential service,” Executive Order 20-91 incorporates the list created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, v. 2 (March 28, 2020), as well as the list of businesses and activities created by Miami-Dade County, both of which were incorporated into Executive Order 20-89 (restricting public access in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Monroe Counties).  Additionally, the State Coordinating Officer is directed to maintain online an Essential Services and Essential Activities List (the “List”), which is available at the Division of Emergency Management’s website at and the Florida Department of Health’s website at  Executive Order 20-91 is set to expire on April 30, 2020, unless extended by subsequent order.

Businesses may be questioning whether respective business is an “essential service” and the individual impact of Executive Order 20-91 on their respective business.

Listed Essential Services

If your business has been specifically listed as an essential service on the List, you are free to continue your business without limitation.  To control the spread of COVID-19, the CDC recommends that workers should be encouraged to work remotely when possible and businesses should focus on core business activities.  When possible, in-person, non-mandatory activities should be delayed until the resumption of normal operations. Businesses are also encouraged to enlist strategies to reduce the likelihood of spreading the disease. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, separating staff by off-setting shift hours or days and/or social distancing. These steps can preserve the workforce and allow operations to continue.

Essential Services, Not Listed

If you believe that your business is an essential service, yet it is not listed on the List, you may contact the State Coordinating Officer, who in coordination with the State Health Officer, will consider inclusion of your business on the List.  Again, to the extent practicable, businesses should allow employees who can work from home to do so and comply with CDC guidelines to control the spread of COVID-19.

Non-Essential Services

Executive Order 20-91 should not be viewed as a stop work order for non-essential businesses.  However, the manner in which a non-essential service conducts business may need to be altered until the Order expires.  Non-essential services can have employees work from home when practicable.  Executive Order 20-91 also provides that “all businesses or organizations are encouraged to provide delivery, carry-out or curbside service outside of the business or organization, of orders placed online or via telephone, to the greatest extent practicable.”  Executive Order 20-91, § 2. D.  If a non-essential service can provide services outside of the physical business setting, it may continue to operate through delivery, carry-out or curbside service.

If you have questions regarding your particular business, you may contact the Radey Law Firm.