Alachua County is issuing a mandatory stay-at-home order for the entire county effective midnight, March 24.
City Commissioner Robert Hutchinson and Gainesville mayor Lauren Poe announced on Monday that the county would be on lockdown with a list of exceptions for businesses that are deemed “essential.”
According to Hutchinson Alachua County has the “highest rate of infections per capita of any Florida county” and “it must end starting now.”
Hutchinson also took aim at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who some have criticized as slow to act regarding COVID-19.
“We can no longer wait for the Governor of Florida to join the other states, so we are taking this action now and will modify it as necessary if and when the State issues its own closures,” Hutchinson said in a statement.
“For the last few weeks, we’ve been slowly–too slowly–ratcheting up restrictions. People have had more time than any approaching storm allows to get their sheltering-in-place preparations sorted out. If we do not see a substantial reduction in the number of people in public places, we’re prepared to reduce the number of essential businesses to a much shorter list… Folks, it is time to go home and stay home.”
Essential businesses include:
• Health care providers (which are “carefully defined”)
• Grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, farms and farmers markets, food banks, shelters
• News media and broadcasters
• Gas stations, auto supply, and auto repair shops
• Hardware, gardening, and building supply stores
• Certain contractors and tradesmen
• Mailing, shipping, and delivery services
• Colleges and trade schools can be open for online learning or to perform critical research
• Laundromats, dry cleaners
• Restaurants and kitchens (pick-up and delivery only)
• Office supply stores
• Certain businesses that do not interact with the public (home-based businesses are fine)
• Businesses that primarily ship or deliver groceries, food, goods, or services directly to residents
• Airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers
• Home-based caregivers for seniors, adults, and children, assisted living facilities and nursing homes
• Businesses providing accounting services such as legal or accounting services
• Landscape and pool care services (although those may be removed)
• Child care facilities with specific restrictions required by the state
• Businesses operating at the airport, except that restaurants have the same rules as all the other restaurants
• Logistics providers including warehouses and trucking
• Telecommunications providers, including computer services
• Businesses engaged in the provision of office space and administrative support for essential services
• Certain construction sites (limited – the County will be shutting down its building permit operation, including inspections, soon)
• Factories and warehouses
• Waste collection, including collection and disposal of waste, will continue but no hazardous material or bulk waste collection
• Hotels and motels, but there is a list of priorities for them, including providing places for healthcare professionals and first responders, National Guard members, etc.
• Veterinarians and boarding facilities
• Mortuaries, funeral homes, and cemeteries
• Any businesses that employ 5 or fewer persons, provided they do not come in contact with the public
• Electrical production and distribution facilities and utilities.