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Recent Executive Orders Regarding the Coronavirus Pandemic

Executive Order 20-111

On April 29, 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued two executive orders: (1) # 2020-111 Executive Order re: Limited Extension of Essential Services and Activities and Vacation Rental Prohibition and (2) # 2020-112 Executive Order re: Phase 1: Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery. This article will review Executive Order 20-111: Limited Extension of Essential Services and Activities and Vacation Rental Prohibition. The entirety of Executive Order 20-111 is that it extends two previously-entered Executive Orders: Executive Orders 20-87 and 20-91. The first executive order which was extended by Executive Order 20-111 is Executive Order 20-87. Executive Order 20-111 extends this previous executive order until May 4, 2020. Further, Executive Order 20-111 specifically provides that once May 4, 2020 occurs, Executive Order 20-87 will then be extended by a subsequent order. Executive Order 20-87 pertains to vacation rental closures. The second and last executive order which was extended is Executive Order 20-91 (which was also amended by Executive Order 20-92) until May 4, 2020. Executive Order 20-91 pertains to essential services and activities during the COVID-19 emergency.

Executive Order 20-87

Executive Order 20-87 noted that Florida is experiencing an increase in individuals coming to Florida from out-of-state locations and that Florida vacation rentals and third-party platforms advertising vacation rentals present an attractive lodging destination for out-of-state individuals. Accordingly, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ordered that all parties engaged in renting vacation rentals properties are to suspend vacation rental operations. Pursuant to the Executive Order, vacation rentals are prohibited from making new reservations or bookings, and renters shall not accept new guests for the duration of the order. This Executive Order applies to the rental of any house, condominium, cooperative, or dwelling unit that is also a transient public lodging establishment (i) which is rented out for periods of less than thirty days or one month, (2) which is advertised or held out to the public as a place regularly rented to guests, or (3) which is otherwise regulated as a vacation rental pursuant to the Florida Statutes. The Executive Order specifically states it does not apply to hotels, motels, inns, resorts, non-transient public lodging establishments, timeshare projects, long-term rentals, rental stays where the guests were currently staying in the rental, and rentals to persons who were performing military, emergency, governmental, health or infrastructure response, or travelers engaged in non-vacation commercial activities. The Executive Order also addressed violations of the Order. Such violations include that Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation will revoke the vacation rental license of any party that violates the order or advertises for vacation rental opportunities during the order. Violations also include that parties that violate the order – or attempt to violate the order through advertising or means of solicitation – may be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. Again, it is imperative to note that Executive Order 20-111 provides that once the extension of Executive Order 20-87 expires at 12:01 a.m. on May 4, 2020, the Order will then be extended by a subsequent order.

Executive Order 20-91

Executive Order 20-91 became effective April 3, 2020, and it was subsequently amended by Executive Order 20-92 to supersede any conflicting official action or order issued by local officials in response to COVID-19. The order was originally set to expire on April 30, 2020, and it provides that Executive Order 20-68 (bars, restaurants) and Executive Order 20-71 (alcohol sales, restaurants) remain in effect through the duration of Executive Order 20-52, including any extensions. The Executive Order provides that senior citizens and individuals with a significant underlying medical condition shall stay at home and take all measures to limit the risk of COVID-10. Executive Order 20-91 also orders that all persons shall limit their movements and interactions outside of their home to do only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities. This Executive Order defines “essential services” as (i) those set forth in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, v. 2 (March 28, 2020) and any subsequent lists published, (ii) those businesses and activities as designated by Executive Order 20-89 and its attachments (which consists of a list propounded by Miami-Dade County in multiple orders), and (iii) those other “essential services” which may be added under this order with the approval of the State Coordinating Officer and in close coordination with the State Health Officer. Further, the Executive Order 20-91 expressly states that nothing in this order prohibits individuals from working from home, and individuals are encouraged to work from home. Executive Order 20-91 limits “essential activities” to (1) attending religious services, (2) participating in recreational activities (consistent with social distancing guidelines; examples include walking, biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, running, or swimming;), (3) taking care of pets, (4) carrying for or assisting a loved one of friend. The Executive Order specifically said that a social gathering in a public space is not an essential activity. For Pinellas County residents, it is important to note that subsequent to Executive Order 20-91, the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners issued Resolution 20-23. This order provided that any retail business, operation, or organization (“business”) which is not within the category of “essential services” or “essential activities” pursuant to Executive Order 20-91 must close. Any businesses which continue to operate pursuant to 20-91 must – to the maximum extent possible – implement and comply with the current CDC guidance on social distancing and hazard mitigation (including personal proximity, sanitation, and hygiene). Further, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department and Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners subsequently issued a “State of Florida & Pinellas County ‘Safer-At-Home Guidance’” which provides insight on what non-essential businesses shall close in Pinellas County under the Governor’s Executive Order 20-91 and the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners’ Order.

Battaglia, Ross, Dicus, & McQuaid, P.A. is Here for You

The business attorneys at the law firm of Battaglia, Ross, Dicus, & McQuaid, P.A. are closely monitoring the coronavirus pandemic. We hope that you remain healthy and safe during these difficult times.

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