COVID-19

In a press briefing Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced he will be signing an executive order commanding all Floridians to stay at home.

The order will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday and will last for 30 days as the state tries to prevent further spreading of COVID-19, the novel Coronavirus. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 6,955 confirmed cases of the virus. 

"Directing all Floridians to limit movements and personal interactions outside the home to only those necessary to obtain or provide necessary services or conduct essential activities," DeSantis said in the briefing, adding he consulted with the White House in deciding the time was right to make the call. 

“We’re going to be in this for another 30 days.That’s just the reality we find ourselves in."

DeSantis said the state would follow the guidelines set forth by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security when it comes to determining essential services. He added the state also could rely on the experience of those in South Florida in putting the stay at home order into place.

Following those federal guidelines, essential services include medical facilities and pharmacies, grocery stores and restaurants preparing carry-out or to-go orders, first responders and utilities, banks and credit unions, auto repair and towing services as well as newspapers and other media outlets.

When asked about penalties for those not complying with the order, DeSantis said there are measures in place, but really he just wanted to stress the importance of staying home.

"You’ll be protecting yourself, your family and your fellow Floridians better by staying close to home," he said. "At some point, you do need to exercise good judgement. The government can’t (handcuff) everybody into their bedroom. That’s just not practical."

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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