Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued statewide Executive Order 20-112, effective May 4, 2020, outlining “Phase 1: Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery.” This order relies on guidance from the President, the National Coronavirus Task Force, the Centers for Disease control and various medical professionals to establish our states path towards reopening and recovery.
Importantly, the Order continues to recognize the critical importance of social distancing in the ongoing fight against the spread of the coronavirus infection. Because of the increased prevalence of the coronavirus in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, most restrictions as previously outlined in executive order 20-91 remain in effect and churches would be encouraged to continue to follow the guidance of these stricter protocols.
For the rest of the state, the Florida Baptist Convention continues to suggest—as it has for several weeks—that we have a valuable opportunity to show the love of Christ and to be a good neighbor during this pandemic. A visible way we can do this is by voluntarily adhering to the social distancing guidelines and helping to protect the health of our communities. In this phase 1 order, select businesses and organizations are requested to continue to adhere to social distancing requirements while working to return to some level of operation. While churches were not directly outlined in this latest executive order; we recommend churches continue to find ministry avenues that adhere to the guidelines of social distancing; which include amongst other things maintaining at least 6-feet of separation, utilize consistent and proper sanitizing methods, do not involve vulnerable individuals or individuals exhibiting signs of sickness and encourage the utilization of face masks.
Additionally, some public establishments are permitted to reopen in this latest executive order. Specifically, noted were restaurants in which indoor dining capacity must be limited to 25% of capacity. This metric along with other proper CDC protocols might also be a point of consideration for churches in considering the level of ministry that they should undertake in phase 1.
If you have specific questions about a planned ministry event, we encourage you to seek guidance from your local county officials to help you make a final determination.