PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — On April 1, Governor Ron Desantis signed the Safer At Home order that will go into effect midnight April 3 and expire on April 30, unless extended by a subsequent order.
To prevent further spread of COVID-19 in the state of Florida, the new order limits travel to only essential workers, trips to purchase essential supplies, and essential activities.
As the list of essential workers is broad, Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford says he does not expect traffic due to essential trips to be disrupted in any way.
“I don’t anticipate us being out there pulling vehicles over and saying, you know, where are you going what are you doing, just because it is broad on what is allowable as an essential activity or essential businesses.”
Essential activities include participating in recreational exercises, while heeding social distancing guidelines, such as walking, biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, running, or swimming. Caring for a loved one or friend and taking care of pets are also considered essential activities.
Grocery stores will remain open and their supply chains unimpeded according to the order, but Ford suggests avoiding overly packed lines and remaining six feet apart from fellow residents while shopping for essentials.
There are many essential services in the community whose operations will not be hindered by the order. Businesses are encouraged to examine the list in order to make decisions regarding closures while the order is active.
Examples of essential services under each categary are as follows:
Healthcare / public health – Healthcare providers and Caregivers including physicians, dentists, psychologists, mid-level practitioners, and nurses.
Law enforcement, public safety, and other first responders – Emergency management, law enforcement, fire and rescue services, emergency medical services, private security, and 911 services.
Food and agriculture – Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies, convenience stores, and other retail, including unattended and vending, that sells human food, animal/pet food, pet supplies, and beverage products. Restaurant carry-out and quick-serve food operations, and carry out and delivery food employees.
Energy – Workers supporting the energy sector, regardless of the energy source.
Water and wastewater – Employees needed to operate and maintain drinking water and wastewater/drainage infrastructure.
Transportation and logistics – Employees supporting or enabling transportation functions, including truck drivers, bus drivers, dispatchers, maintenance and repair technicians, warehouse workers, truck stop and rest area workers, Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) employees, towing/recovery services, and roadside assistance workers.
Public works and infrastructure support services – Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, builders, contractors, HVAC Technicians, landscapers, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, businesses, and buildings such as hospitals and senior living facilities.
Communications and information technology – Workers who support radio, television, and media service, including, but not limited to front-line news reporters, studio, and technicians for news gathering, and reporting, and publishing news.
Critical manufacturing – Workers who produce or manufacture parts or equipment that supports continued operations for any essential services and increase in remote workforce.
Hazardous materials – Workers who manage hazardous materials associated with any other essential activity, including but not limited to healthcare waste.
Financial services – Workers who are needed to maintain orderly market operations to ensure the continuity of financial transactions and services.
Chemical – Workers supporting the chemical and industrial gas supply chains, including workers at chemical manufacturing plants, workers in laboratories, workers at distribution facilities, workers who transport basic raw chemical materials to the producers of industrial and consumer goods, including hand sanitizers, food and food additives, pharmaceuticals, paintings and coatings, textiles, building materials, plumbing, electrical, and paper products.
Defense industrial base – Workers who support the essential services required to meet national security commitments to the federal government and U.S. Military.
Commercial facilities – Workers who support the supply chain of building materials from production through application/installation, including cabinetry, fixtures, doors, cement, hardware, plumbing, electrical, heating/cooling, refrigeration, appliances, paint/coatings, and employees who provide services that enable repair materials and equipment for essential functions.
Residential/ shelter facilities and services – Workers in dependent care services, in support of workers in other essential products and services. Workers in animal shelters.
Hygiene products and services – Workers who produce hygiene products. Workers in laundromats, laundry services, and dry cleaners.
The order encourages any business whose personnel are capable of working remotely doing so. For those services unable to be continued from home but are considered essential the order states:
“When continuous remote work is not possible, businesses should 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.”
For a more detailed list of essential workers click here.