Alachua County limits public assembly, adds restrictions on restaurants

Press release from Alachua County

Alachua County Commission Chair Robert Hutchinson has signed Emergency Order Number 2020-02 Limiting Public Assembly. One of the most important aspects of the Order is restricting restaurant hours and operations.

Read Emergency Order Number 2020-02.

Highlights include:

1. All non-essential places of public assembly (defined below), indoor and outdoor, shall be limited in occupancy to fifty individuals or 50% of permitted occupancy load, whichever is less. The term “non-essential place of public assembly” means any place, indoor or outdoor, where people gather for deliberation, worship, entertainment, eating, drinking, amusement, awaiting transportation, or similar uses; but shall EXCLUDE the following, which are considered “essential”: pharmacies, grocery stores, convenience stores, private offices, banks, hotel, hospitals, medical service providers, medical supply stores, hardware stores, gasoline service stations, automotive supply/repair centers, airports, licensed child care facilities and bus stations. Other “essential” places of public assembly not specifically listed may be excluded by the County Manager.

2. Pursuant to the Governor’s Emergency Order 20-68 all non-essential places of public assembly that serve food and/or beverages for consumption on premises may only be open to the public between the hours of 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and shall be limited to service at tables. Tables should be removed or patrons seated so that each occupied table is a minimum of six feet from the closest occupied table. Seating of groups shall be limited to parties of no more than 10. Seating at bars in restaurants is prohibited. Individuals shall not be permitted to be served or consume food and/or beverages while standing. These restrictions do not apply to take­-out and/or delivery service.

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3. Consistent with the Governor’s Order the restaurants (as licensed under chapter 500 or Chapter 509, Florida Statutes) shall implement employee screening and prohibit any employee from entering the restaurant premises if they meet any of the criteria set forth below:

a) Any person infected with COVID-19 who has not had two consecutive negative test results separated by 24 hours;

b) Any person showing, presenting signs or symptoms of, or disclosing the presence of a respiratory infection, including cough, fever shortness of breath or sore throat;

c) Any person who has been in contact with any person(s) known to be infected with COVID-19, who has not yet tested negative for COVID-19 within the past 14 days;

d) Any person who traveled through any airport within the past 14 days; or

e) Any person who traveled on a cruise ship within the past 14 days.

4. Consistent with the Governor’s Order, bars and lounges shall close at 5 p.m. on March 17, 2020, and remain closed for 30 days or until a subsequent order is issued.

5. Public gatherings of more than 10 individuals are discouraged and may be ordered to disperse.

6. While this Order is not closing restaurants, the public is urged to patronize those restaurants which offer take out, or drive through. In patronizing any facility the public is urged to engage in social distancing.

7. Unless necessary, the public is urged to stay at home.

This Emergency Order shall be effective commencing at 4 p.m. on March 17, 2020, and shall continue until rescinded in writing.

Any violation of these emergency measure(s) shall subject the violator to arrest and criminal prosecution pursuant to Section 252.50, Florida Statutes or as any other violation of county ordinances. Additionally, the County will direct any establishment to cease and desist operations that are in violation of this Emergency Directive.

Pursuant to the County’s Authority under §252.38, Florida Statutes, this Order shall supersede any prior order or order of any municipality within Alachua County to the extent that order is inconsistent with the terms of this order.