Jax Mayor Curry Issues Executive Order Calling On People To Stay At Home

Apr 1, 2020

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry issued a new executive order Wednesday morning mandating that people remain at home except for critical and essential needs.

Called 'Safer At Home', it goes into effect at the stroke of midnight, Friday morning, April 3.

“While we are confident that citizens will be much safer at home in the coming weeks, I want to make it clear that this executive order does not restrict people’s ability to go outside to take a walk or ride a bike, said Curry. “This only prevents residents from traveling to businesses deemed non-essential.”

Just a few hours later, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that a statewide stay-at-home order will go into effect at the same time. The statewide order will last for at least 30 days. 

The order will follow the same guidelines that DeSantis issued for four Southeast Florida counties late last week. 

Curry said he’s hoping this order will get more people to follow social distancing rules so the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have to get involved. 

“There's a million people in this city, [but] we don't have a million police officers,” Curry said. “And we don't want to have to deploy these resources and stretch them because people simply won't socially distance. So we've got to take this seriously.”

Starting Friday at 12:01 a.m., only essential businesses will be permitted to operate.

City officials said if the statewide order mandates a shutdown of additional businesses apart from the city-wide order, the city will make changes to meet statewide requirements. 

Related: Local, State, And National Coronavirus Coverage

The Mayor's Office distributed the following list of essential retail and commercial businesses that may remain open:

  • Healthcare providers, including, but not limited to, hospitals, doctors' and dentists' offices, urgent care centers, clinics, rehabilitation facilities, physical therapists, mental health professionals, psychiatrists, therapists, and pharmacies.
  • Grocery stores, farmers' markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). This authorization includes stores that sell groceries and also sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residences.
  • Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing.
  • Businesses that provide food, shelter, social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals.
  • Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services.
  • Gas stations; new and used automobile dealerships; and auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities, provided however that such businesses should ensure that customers practice the social distancing as advised by the CDC.
  • Banks and related financial institutions.
  • Hardware stores.
  • Contractors and other tradesmen, appliance repair personnel, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and other structures.
  • Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;
  • Private colleges, trade schools, and technical colleges, but only as needed to facilitate online or distance learning and university, college, or technical college residence halls, to the extent needed to accommodate students who cannot return to their homes.
  • Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers.
  • Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but subject to the limitations and requirements of Emergency Order 2020-1. Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and takeaway basis only. Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not permit the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided , or at any other gathering site.
  • Businesses that supply office products needed for people to work from home.
  • Businesses that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate, and which do not interact with the general public.
  • Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods, or services directly to residences.
  • Airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers providing transportation services via automobile, truck, bus, or train.
  • Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children.
  • Assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and adult day care centers, and senior residential facilities.
  • Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist with compliance with legally mandated activities.
  • Landscape and pool care businesses , including residential landscape and pool care services.
  • Childcare facilities providing services that enable employees exempted in this Order to work as permitted. To the extent possible, childcare facilities should operate under the following mandatory conditions:

 

1.    Childcare must be carried out in stable groups of 10 or fewer (inclusive of childcare providers for the group).

 

2.    Children and child care providers shall not change from one group to another.

3.    If more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group shall be in a separate room. Groups shall not mix or interact with each other.

 

  • Businesses operating at any airport, seaport, or other government facility, including parks and government offices.
  • Pet supply stores.
  • Logistics providers; including warehouses; trucking, consolidators, fumigators, and handlers; 
  • Telecommunications providers, including sales of computer or telecommunications devices and the provision of home telecommunications.
  • Provision of propane or natural gas.
  • Office space and administrative support necessary to perform any of the above-listed  activities
  • Open construction sites, irrespective of the type of building.
  • Architectural, engineering, or land surveying services.
  • Factories, manufacturing facilities, bottling plants, or other industrial uses.
  • Waste management services, including collection and disposal of waste.
  • Any business that is interacting with customers solely through electronic or telephonic means, and delivering products via mailing, shipping, or delivery services.
  • Private and municipal marinas and boat launches, docking, fueling, marine supply and other marina services, and other private outdoor recreational activities that comply with the spacing, maximum capacity and other requirements of federal, state and local executive orders and proclamations;
  • Hotels, motels, other commercial lodging establishments and temporary vacation rentals, subject to the requirements of Executive Order 2020-4.
  • Veterinarians and pet boarding facilities.
  • Mortuaries, funeral homes, and cemeteries.
  • The sale of alcoholic beverages is authorized consistent with Executive Order 2020-1;
  • Firearm and ammunition supply stores.
  • Businesses providing services to any local, state, or federal government, including municipalities, pursuant to a contract with such government.

Over the last couple weeks, Curry has been hesitant about issuing a stay at home order, citing that areas imposing stay at home orders are doing the exact opposite. 

“Where we've seen these orders in other states, even in other countries, some of the behaviors are detrimental or opposite of what the stay at home order is intended to happen,” Curry said last week. “You see people in New York, you saw people get on airplanes, leaving. In California last weekend, you saw overcrowded beaches.”

But on Monday, Curry said in a press conference he was having his team evaluate the Southeast Florida stay at home guidelines.

“As I talk to people, I hear from people, in the community, words matter,” Curry said. “And by moving to a stay at home order, and modeling that after the order that the Governor issued in South Florida, I think it sends a stronger message to people, and hopefully it gets their attention more so than the other orders.”

Apart from the stay at home order, Curry also announced that JEA is waiving late fees on payments until the pandemic is over. JEA will also waive credit card convenience fees for six months, beginning April 6. JEA is also working on a possible one-time rebate for all electric customers. 

Curry said small businesses can call JEA to create payment plans and arrangements. 

Credit City of Jacksonville

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Sky Lebron can be reached at slebron@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @SkylerLebron.