Leon County and Tallahassee residents will be ordered to stay at home starting at 11 p.m. Wednesday after Leon became the latest county to issue such an order to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The county also enacted an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew starting Wednesday.
“It is a deliberate and measured approach to protect our county’s vulnerable populations,” said Leon County Commission Chair Bryan Desloge. “It’s an effort that requires all of our community to come together to be united in a single purpose — stopping the spread of this virus.”
Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey joined Desloge for the announcement Tuesday afternoon.
“I have said since the beginning, on behalf of the city, that our main priorities are, number one, the health, safety and welfare of this community and, number two, the continuity of critical municipal services,” Dailey said.
The order “strongly encourages” people not conducting essential activities to stay at home. But people may still go to work, obtain necessary supplies, do outdoor recreation and help the health and safety of others.
“You can still go to a park, you can still walk your dog, you can still go to work, but large groups should not gather and families should only leave home for the essentials,” Desloge said.
But between curfew hours, law enforcement can stop and charge people for being outside their homes, within officers’ discretion.
Additionally, the order does not require any business to close. On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered restaurants to close dining rooms after he had already ordered bars to close.
While the Governor has said a California- or New York-style lockdown is unnecessary for the entire state, the state would work with local governments to take steps beyond what he has enacted.
As of Tuesday morning, 21 counties in Florida have no reported cases of COVID-19, according to the Department of Health.
“The decisions we make may disrupt lives, but they will also save lives,” Desloge said.
The county, city and law enforcement will have the resources and ability to crack down on gatherings larger than 10 people with criminal charges and fines.
The county will be working with Florida State University, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and Tallahassee Community College to make sure students are safe.
The last three of Leon County’s confirmed cases have been aged 31, 34 and 21 years old, Dailey said. The oldest case in the county is 59 years old. And according to data the Mayor cited, 40% of those hospitalized are between the ages of 20 and 54.
“Everyone is vulnerable in catching COVID-19,” he added. “Do not think that you are immune just because of your age.”
Leon County has seen a total of eight cases, including five residents in the state, one out of state, and two non-Florida residents tested and isolated in the county.
Desloge has called for an emergency meeting Wednesday afternoon to discuss a $1 million local relief package.
— Jeffrey Burlew (@JeffBurlew) March 24, 2020
Consistent with local, state and national health expert guidance strongly encouraging social distancing and limiting public gatherings, Leon County has issued a stay-at-home order effective Wednesday March 25 at 11 p.m. for all County and City residents. https://t.co/aKGx9doEkn
— Leon County, FL (@LeonCounty) March 24, 2020