Safer-at-home effective in South Florida until mid-April

Gov. Ron DeSantis also suspended all vacation rental operations for periods of less than 30 days

Gov. Ron DeSantis (Credit: Josh Brasted/Getty Images)
Gov. Ron DeSantis (Credit: Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

UPDATED, March 30, 7:05 p.m.: Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday announced a unified “safer-at-home” policy for Southeast Florida that will be in effect until mid-April — keeping non-essential businesses closed until then.

DeSantis, joined by the mayors from Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties, said the emergency order “gets all four counties operating under the same sheet of music.” It’s in effect until April 15.

Miami-Dade and Broward announced similar policies last week, urging residents and visitors to stay home, allowing them to travel to essential businesses, including grocery stores and pharmacies.

Florida had 5,473 confirmed cases of the virus as of Monday morning, according to the Florida Department of Health. Miami-Dade had 1,632 cases; Broward, 1,152; Palm Beach, 423; and Monroe, 24.

Essential businesses include healthcare providers, grocery stores and convenience stores, food cultivation, media, gas stations and auto repair shops, banks, hardware stores, laundromats and dry cleaners, and restaurants with delivery and takeout kitchens. All non-essential businesses, including restaurant dining rooms, were ordered to close in South Florida about two weeks ago.

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On Saturday, DeSantis also suspended all vacation rental operations for periods of less than 30 days or one calendar month.

On March 22, Monroe County ordered all hotels, guest houses, short-term rentals in RV parks, and vacation rentals to cease operating in the Florida Keys. Miami-Dade and the city of Miami Beach followed with a similar order effective the following day, with the exception of hotels housing essential guests such as healthcare professionals and first responders.

The mass closures of hotels, restaurants and other businesses have resulted in thousands of layoffs in South Florida.

An earlier version of this story stated that the order was in effect until mid-May. DeSantis misspoke, and the order ends April 15, unless it is extended.