TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Governor Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday afternoon that the state of Florida is being shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Florida now joins more than 30 states that are under a "stay-at-home" order. It will take effect Thursday at midnight and last 30 days.
The order mandates that Floridians stay home unless they're going out for "essential services or activities."
Florida is at just under 7,000 coronavirus cases as of Wednesday morning. The death toll is at 87.
Considered essential workers: healthcare providers, law enforcement, restaurant, grocery store and gas station employees, bankers, reporters, bus drivers and technicians, taxis and truck drivers.
Considered essential activities: Going to church and participating in recreational activities like hiking, swimming and fishing while following social distance guidelines. You are still able to grocery shop and get gas.
The order says public gatherings of 10 people or more is not essential and it’s up to local authorities to police this.
DeSantis said he spoke to President Trump and cited the national guidelines that extended the stay-at-home recommendations for another 30 days as a reason for taking action now.
"Although the guidelines don't call for any new action...I think it's clear it effectively represents a national pause," DeSantis said. "It makes sense to make this move now."
Minutes before the news conference, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried took to Twitter to say the White House had given its blessing to DeSantis to issue the directive.
Gov. DeSantis has faced some criticism for not issuing a statewide stay-at-home order earlier, as many Floridians signed a petition urging him to close down the state.
On March 24, DeSantis said all state residents age 65 and older should stay home.
On Monday, he said all South Floridians should stay home until mid-April.
This is a developing story. Check back here for more updates.
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