• Orange County, State Share Re-opening Guidelines

  • Orange County, State Share Re-opening Guidelines

    Orange County, State Share Re-opening Guidelines

    The White House and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently released Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach based on the advice of public health experts to cautiously re-open face-to-face commerce and gatherings. All levels of government are responding, and most counties in Florida were given the green light to begin re-opening yesterday.
    In preparation for this first step, and as acting Director of Emergency Management, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings issued an Emergency Executive Order May 1st which outlines specific guidelines for gatherings:

    • All persons should continue to practice social distancing, remaining at least 6 feet apart in public. Public gatherings should remain small, not to exceed 10 persons. Groups larger than 10 are not permitted in any public space that doesn’t allow for proper social distancing.
    • Seniors and those with significant underlying medical conditions are strongly encouraged to stay at home to limit their risk of exposure to COVID-19.
    • Any person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, is exhibiting symptoms or has interacted with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is exhibiting symptoms should stay home and consult their physician.
    • Health screenings, temperature checks, and sanitizing and washing of hands should be based on CDC and OSHA guidelines. 

    Gov. Ron DeSantis issued Phase One of Florida’s re-opening plan in an Executive Order, which outlines minimum standards for businesses and places of assembly. The order allows essential businesses and services to open under the following conditions:
    • All persons must practice social distancing, remaining at least 6 feet apart.
    • If employees and patrons require less than 6 feet to conduct business, both should wear a face mask or covering. If wearing a face covering impedes the patron’s ability to receive a service, only the service provider is required to wear the face covering.
    • Employers are encouraged to allow employees with significant underlying medical conditions to work from home if they are able and offer them flexibility with leave time if possible.
    • Employers are encouraged to allow employees who can work remotely the freedom to do so.
    • Business meetings, workshops and training programs must ensure proper social distancing.
    • Check-out points and storefronts must be monitored for proper social distancing by using clear and measured floor markings. Partitions or barrier shields of plexiglass, clear plastic or similar material should be installed to protect both employees and patrons.
    • Appropriate signage must be posted throughout each location to remind patrons and employees to observe social distancing requirements.
    • In-store retail sales may occur using 25% of the building occupancy limits (excluding employees) if they abide by CDC and OSHA safety guidelines. 

    Restaurants and food establishments licensed under Chapters 500 or 509, Florida Statutes,
    • May allow on-premises consumption of food and beverages if they adopt proper social distancing measures and limit building occupancy to 25% (excluding employees).
    • Outdoor dining is permissible with 6-foot social distancing between parties of 10 people or less, and bar counters must remain closed to seating.
    • Buffets, salad bars and drink stations are not permitted.
    • If single-serving condiments cannot be used, condiment stations must be cleaned after each use.
    • Reservations are encouraged to ensure occupancy limits aren’t exceeded for indoor dining.
    • Delivery and curbside service are encouraged in lieu of indoor dining when feasible.
    • Seating areas, counters, doorknobs, bathrooms and other areas frequented by employees and patrons must be disinfected often.
    • Menus should be disinfected between each use. Alternative options for displaying menu information are encouraged, including message boards, website posting and printed disposable menus. 
    Florida’s executive order also allows public museums and libraries to open no more than 25% of their building capacity (excluding employees). Interactive areas such as child play areas, must remain closed.
    While houses of worship such as churches and synagogues are considered essential and therefore permitted to operate, they are encouraged to conduct religious services electronically or through drive-in services that allow people to remain in their cars. Religious leaders are expected to encourage seniors 65 or older and any members who have significant medical conditions to attend only virtual meetings and worship services. Any houses of worship that choose to open their doors must adhere to CDC guidelines.
    Florida’s schools, bars, gyms and personal services, including barber shops, hair salons and nail salons, shall remain closed until further notice.
    Orange County’s Emergency Executive Order is legally enforceable, but the intent of the order and local law enforcement agencies is to simply encourage everyone to do their part by complying. Severe and repeated violations would be considered a second-degree misdemeanor, but it is the hope of all agencies that none will occur. The re-opening guidelines provided in the Governor’s Executive Order are enforceable through the Florida Department of Professional Regulations.
    Mayor Demings’ Emergency Executive Order is applicable to incorporated and unincorporated Orange County, in addition to the Executive Orders issued by Governor DeSantis. State and federal law and constitutional provisions supersede the legality of county provisions, should they at any time conflict.
    Orange County’s guidelines for reopening urge the following:
    • Practice social distancing.
    • Stay at home when feeling sick.
    • Wear protective face coverings.
    • Conduct health screenings.
    • Sanitize and wash hands frequently.
    • High-risk individuals should shelter and work from home when possible
    • Check temperatures of all staff. Anyone with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher should go home.

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