Gov. Ron DeSantis extended the state’s eviction moratorium Monday for the fifth consecutive time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The order was initially set to expire on Sept. 1 at 12:01 a.m. It is now extended until Oct. 1.
Unlike previous orders, however, the new moratorium contains limited protections for only residential tenants.
According to the order, a property owner may start the foreclosure or eviction process under any situation permitted under existing Florida statutes. In other words, the order only stops the final action of certain foreclosures or evictions.
Additionally, the order limits protections only to a person impacted by the COVID-19 emergency.
“The Executive Order does not cover tenants whose lease expires or when nonpayment occurs due to reasons other than the COVID-19 emergency,” the moratorium reads.
The distinction puts many Floridians back on the hook for things like unpaid bills or property damage.
The stay on evictions is intended to provide relief to the thousands of Floridians who remain out of work or are otherwise economically-impacted by COVID-19.
In early August, DeSantis defended the earlier orders’ narrow scope and maintained it still accomplishes its intended purpose.
“I think the order would apply to all folks who lost their jobs in this period and obviously would apply to anyone that has either been ill or had a family member ill,” DeSantis told reporters in Jacksonville. “So I think it covers the core group of people that we’re looking to protect. At the same time, if you had no effects on it and you’re still working and everything, then you got to meet your obligations just like another Floridian would.”
On Monday, state health officials confirmed the deaths of 68 residents with COVID-19 within the past 24 hours. Overall, 11,187 Florida residents have died with COVID-19, and 623,471 people have tested positive for the virus, including 616,629 residents.
The median age of positive cases dropped from 43 Sunday to 41 Monday.
Meanwhile, the number of Floridians applying for COVID-19-related unemployment benefits went up last week after a decline for much of August.