Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday that he will issue a statewide stay-at-home order.
The order will go into effect Thursday at midnight and last for 30 days.
DeSantis issued the order as federal and local pressure mounted for him to abandon the county-by-county approach he had implemented.
DeSantis told reporters that he is issuing the order after consulting with President Donald Trump and White House advisers, who have said Americans need to stay home throughout April.
“I’m going to be doing an executive order today directing all Floridians to limit movements and personal interactions outside the home to only those necessary,” he said. “To obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis’ move came hours after the U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Jerome Adams, said on NBC’s “Today” show that he would tell DeSantis that the federal guidelines for social distancing should be viewed as “a national stay-at-home order.”
“We’re going to be in this for another 30 days,” he said. “At this point, even though there’s a lot of places in Florida that have very low infection rates, it makes sense to make this move now,” DeSantis said.
Florida’s congressional Democrats blasted the governor on Tuesday for having not yet issued a stay-at-home order. DeSantis had defended his county-by-county approach, saying businesses and workers in unaffected counties shouldn’t be punished.
In Central Florida, Orange and Osceola counties had already enacted county-wide stay at home orders.
The number of coronavirus cases in Florida will surpass 7,000 on Wednesday as the state’s death toll continues to climb.
The governor also announced Wednesday that he will be accelerating $2.1 billion in transportation projects amid the stay-at-home order. He believes that the state needs to take advantage of the opportunity now that more people are off the roads to complete crucial infrastructure projects.
State health officials said Wednesday that 87 Florida residents have now died after becoming infected with the virus and the state has a total of 6,955 cases.