All of Alachua County under stay-at-home order as of midnight tonight
March 23, 2020
BY JENNIFER CABRERA
Alachua County Commission Chair Robert Hutchinson and Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe appeared together this afternoon to announce an emergency stay-at-home order that will become effective at midnight tonight. All “non-essential” businesses and gathering places will be closed.
Hutchinson began: “Alachua County has the highest rate of infections per capita of any Florida county, and it must end, starting now. While we appreciate the sacrifices that many have made so far, it is not enough.”
Hutchinson continued, “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.”
Essential businesses include:
Health care providers (which are “carefully defined”)
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.
For retail establishments, the maximum number of customers in each store is limited to one per 1000 square feet. Stores must help people line up safely outside. “The purpose of this retail rationing is to strongly discourage people from shopping expeditions for non-essential items.”
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Businesses can request designation as an essential business here.
Hutchinson concluded, “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.”
Mayor Poe described how city government is responding to the crisis, then said, “We know that many people are concerned about what happens next week, next month. Many people are concerned about their jobs, their homes, and what the recovery effort will look like… We will do everything that we can to help people recover as quickly as possible. Right now, our priority is stopping the spread of COVID-19 and keeping people alive.”