Alachua County Emergency Meeting to discuss Stay-At-Home Order and COVID-19

Published: Mar. 23, 2020 at 11:52 PM EDT
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Alachua County has called a emergency commission meeting to discuss COVID-19, and concerns about the new stay-at-home order which went into effect on Tuesday.

The Board of County Commissioners will meet at 5 p.m. Commissioners are not planning on making any motions or voting on anything according to the press release announcing the meeting. The meeting is not open to the public, but can be streamed online, or seen on Cox Channel 12.

Streaming links:

Alachua County Video on Demand:

Alachua County Facebook:

Original story below:

MONDAY 3/23/20: This afternoon, Alachua County and the city of Gainesville released an emergency order that calls for all non-essential businesses to close and for people to stay home. It takes effects in less than an hour at midnight.

The ten-page document orders non-essential businesses to close with six pages outlining what the county defines as essential.

It also orders people to remain in their homes with exceptions to leave for only five listed essential activities.

County Commissioner Hutch Hutchinson said, "Alachua county is now the highest number of people infected with covid per capita in the state of florida."

The five essential activities to leave home are:

For health and safety purposes

To get necessary supplies and services like groceries for the household or to deliver to someone else.

For outdoor activities that comply with social distance and no more than 10 people

For certain essential work

To take care of others.

Hutchinson adds, "Mayor and the city commissioners and county commissioners and a number of other people with in and then we had team of three lawyers putting all the pieces together. To make sure they were consistent, made sense were legally defensible. So it's an effort to put one of these things together to make it effective, legal and so forth but I think we've got a good order."

Six pages outline the criteria for businesses that can remain open. The list ranges from grocery stores to child care facilities and gas stations.

Mayor Jordan Marlowe of Newberry said, "We could've benefited from some sort of advanced communication ahead of time."

Marlowe says they now have to work backward to help people understand what the county order means.

"The county has the authority to do it, this is clearly a county decision. By including one of the nine mayors of the county and excluding the other eight, I think that's another area that leads to the confusion."

The stay-at-home order is supposed to expire when the county's state of local emergency ends.

No expiration date is listed on that document leaving the date as indefinite.

The order cites Florida Statute 252.50 for people who don't comply to be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.

Commissioner Hutchinson adds that people probably won't get arrested or fined for non-compliance.

The county is providing an online form so businesses can apply to be added to the list of essentials that are on the current order.

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