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Alachua County’s Order No. 2020-21 and the State of Florida’s Executive Order No. 20-112 (Phase 1)

Industry News ,

Updated: May, April 7th

Alachua County’s Order No. 2020-21 and the State of Florida’s Executive Order No. 20-112 (Phase 1: Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida's Recovery) 

  1. Please click here for a copy of Alachua County’s Order No. 2020-21
  2. Please click here for a copy of the State of Florida’s Executive Order No. 20-112 

The North Central Florida Apartment Association is providing the following resource to help our members navigate the “reopening” orders issued by the Alachua County government and Governor Ron DeSantis in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This resource may change as more information is made available, and should not be considered comprehensive. It is still important for your company to stay up to date with any new announcements or press releases made available to the public by your local government.

Please note it is your community or company's responsibility to make operational, policy, or staffing decisions based on a thorough internal review and consultation with counsel. Nothing contained within this article should be considered legal advice or official guidance.

On May 2nd, 2020 Alachua County Chair Robert Hutchinson issued their Phase 1 Step by Step Recovery order for employees and residents in incorporated and unincorporated Alachua County. The order became effective on Tuesday, May 4th at 12:01 AM and will last until the expiration of the existing State of Local Emergency, unless terminated by a subsequent Emergency Order. This order supersedes Alachua County’s Stay-At-Home order 2020-09.

Under this order (2020-21), non-essential businesses are still required to close. 

On April 30th, 2020 Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-112, which lays out Florida’s Phase 1 of reopening. This order became effective on May 4, 2020 and will remain in place until the governor issues a subsequent executive order. This directive still orders all persons in Florida to limit their movements and personal interactions outside of their home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities. However, this order also allows for some business and areas to reopen. Please access the Governor’s Phase 1 Reopening FAQ for more information. Below we have compiled our own FAQ for the multifamily industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why has this order been issued?

A. The purpose of this order is to help restart the economy and normal life, while restricting or stopping the community spread of COVID-19 by limiting person to person interaction. 

Q. Are multifamily property management and maintenance personnel considered “essential?”

A. Yes. The governor is still using the same list as executive Order No 20-91 for determination of an Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. Essential personnel includes:

  1. Workers responsible for the leasing of residential properties to provide individuals and families with ready access to available housing.
  2. Workers responsible for handling property management, maintenance, and related service calls who can coordinate the response to emergency “at-home” situations requiring immediate attention, as well as facilitate the reception of deliveries, mail, and other necessary services.
  3. Workers performing housing construction related activities to ensure additional units can be made available to combat the nation’s existing housing supply shortage.
  4. Workers supporting the construction of housing, including those supporting government functions related to the building and development process, such as inspections, permitting and plan review services that can be modified to protect the public health, but fundamentally should continue and serve the construction of housing (e.g., allow qualified private third-party inspections in case of government shutdown).

Q. Can I open my pool up?

A. Yes. Emergency Order No. 2020-23 states, “Outside pools which are part of multi-family residential communities may reopen. All seating and tables around any pool shall be set up with social distancing of at least 6 feet between groupings and fixed in some way so they cannot be easily rearranged. Activity in pools shall be limited to activities with social distancing and occupancy of 1 person per 100 square feet of water surface. Groupings outside the pool shall be limited to no more than 10 individuals. The owners/operators of these pools shall post signs explaining these rules and monitor the pool for compliance with the health standards and use limitations on a reasonable basis. Employees working in pool houses, locker rooms, around pools and in similar areas shall wear facial coverings.”

Q. Can my gym open up?

A. Alachua County told NCFAA that gym amenities may not open until phase 2 of the reopening process.

Q. Is the use of face masks mandatory?

A. Yes. Alachua County’s order states, “Persons working in or visiting grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies, construction sites, public transit vehicles, vehicles for hire, and locations where social distancing measures are not possible shall wear facial coverings as defined by the CDC.” 

Q. Is the employer mandated to stay open if they are deemed essential?

A. 1). No. This order only allows certain businesses to remain open. The decision for a business to remain open is a business decision that must be made in consultation with your company policies and legal counsel. 

2). It is important to note that Governor DeSantis’ executive order no. 20-112 confirms that individuals are allowed to and encouraged to work from home during the duration of the order. 

Q. Do all employees have to appear for work if their business is deemed essential?

A. No. It is up to the employer to determine whether or not the employee living in Alachua County should appear for work. Employees and contractors should not report to work if they are exhibiting any of the symptoms of COVID-19, if they have been in contact with someone who has been infected, or if they are sick. 

Q. What are the requirements if you are 65 and older?

A. The Governor now strongly encourages those that are 65 and older or have underlying health conditions to stay home. Executive Order No 20-112 states, "Senior citizens and individuals with a significant underlying medical condition (such as chronic lung disease, moderate-to-severe asthma, serious heart conditions, immunocompromised status, cancer, diabetes, severe obesity, renal failure and liver disease) are strongly encourage to stay at home and take all measures to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19."

Q. Are there requirements that essential personnel must follow?

A. Yes, although they may continue working, the employees must maintain social distancing (at least 6 feet apart from other people), as well as all other measures advised by the CDC, and maintenance personnel should use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). 

Q. Is there a limit on occupancy for businesses that are open?

A. Yes, Alachua County’s order states groups of people greater than ten are not permitted to congregate in any public space that does not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing. Groups greater than 10 may beordered to disperse. This includes any gathering which takes place in the commons area of anymultiple residence facility.

Q. Is there a limit on how many employees can be essential personnel?

A. No, but the Governor orders that gatherings of 10 or more people are prohibited in any place that does not readily allow for appropriate social distancing and other measures advised by the CDC.

Q. Does this apply to all municipalities in Alachua County?

A. Yes, however, the various municipalities may impose more stringent requirements.

Q. Has Alachua County declared a curfew?

A. No, not at this time. 

Q. Do I need to halt construction on my residential property?

A. It does not appear so. The essential workers list in executive order no. 20-92 (used by EO 20-112) includes: 

    1. “Workers supporting the construction of housing, including those supporting government functions related to the building and development process, such as inspections, permitting and plan review services that can be modified to protect the public health, but fundamentally should continue and serve the construction of housing (e.g., allow qualified private third-party inspections in case of government shutdown).”

Q. Can we leave our home for reasons other than our work (if work is deemed essential)?

A. 1). Yes. However, people should remain in their homes unless they are engaging in activities essential to their health and safety, obtaining necessary services or supplies for themselves or family, engaging in outdoor activity (exercise), performing operations for work, or leaving to take care of a family member, friend, or pet, among other activities. 

2). The Governor’s order also states residents may also engage in the following “essential activities:”

    1. Attend religious services,
    2. Participate in recreational activities such as hiking, walking, biking, ect.,
    3. Take care of pets, and
    4. Care for or otherwise assist a loved one or friend. 

Additional Resources

  1. Governor’s Phase 1 FAQ: Executive Order 20-122 FAQ
  2. Florida Department of Health's guidance on reopening pools: Swimming Pool Guidance
  3. FAA COVID-19 Resource Page: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance
  4. Alachua County’s Phase 1 Step by Step Recovery Order EMERGENCY ORDER NO. 2020-21 PHASE ONE STEP BY STEP RECOVERY
  5. The State of Florida’s Executive Order No. 20-112: STATE OF FLORIDA
  6. Alachua county’s COVID-19 information page: Home
  7. Duval County Health Department’s Website: http://duval.floridahealth.gov/
  8. Florida Department of Health’s Website: http://www.floridahealth.gov/
  9. CDC’s Website: https://www.cdc.gov/