The City of Boca Raton ordered all non-essential retail and commercial establishments to close until further notice to slow the spread of COVID-19 effective Wednesday, March 25 at 12:01 a.m.
As of today, 18 people have died from and at least 1,412 more have tested positive for COVID-19 in Florida. Of Florida’s 67 counties, approximately half of the state’s confirmed cases are in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.
“This order is intended to save lives and prevent the long-term devastating impacts that COVID-19 could have on our residents, businesses and visitors,” wrote Boca Raton City officials. “Do your part. Slow the spread. Stay at home.”
Boca Raton’s emergency order comes shortly after Broward and Miami-Dade imposed similar county restrictions in lieu of a statewide stay-at-home order, which Governor Ron DeSantis still wants to avoid. DeSantis stands by his assertion that utilizing restrictive measures on a county-by-county basis is the best way to minimize the spread of the virus without harming unaffected areas.
“When you’re ordering people to shelter in place you are consigning a number – probably hundreds of thousands of Floridians – to lose their jobs,” said DeSantis to the Associated Press.
DeSantis cited the recent spike in Floridian requests for unemployment benefits to demonstrate his point. Only 28,000 requests were made for the entirety of last week, but 130,000 requests have been made in the past four days alone.
Monday evening, DeSantis sent an urgent letter to President Donald Trump asking him to declare Florida a disaster area. If Trump complies, the state will be eligible for federal aid. In the letter, DeSantis stated that Florida’s “hospitals, medical facilities, and first responders are facing challenges rarely experienced before” and emphasized that the state has already spent $208 million dollars on unemployment assistance, food stamps, disaster loans and mental health counseling.
Trump has not yet responded to DeSantis’ request.