|COVID-19 pandemic in Florida|
|Index case||Hillsborough County, Manatee County|
|Arrival date||March 1, 2020|
|Part of a series on the|
On March 1, 2020, the U.S. state of Florida officially reported its first two COVID-19 cases, in Manatee and Hillsborough counties. In response, Governor Ron DeSantis then declared a public health emergency. There is evidence, however, that community spread of COVID-19 began in Florida much earlier, perhaps as early as the first week of January,with as many as 171 people in Florida who had shown symptoms now identified with COVID-19, prior to receiving confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By March 11, the CDC saw evidence to conclude that community spread of the virus had occurred within the state. On April 1, 2020, Governor DeSantis issued an executive order to restrict activities within the state to those deemed as essential services.
On September 25, 2020, DeSantis issued an order that effectively nullified public health measures imposed by various local governments in Florida to combat the spread of the virus. DeSantis's order prohibited local governments from imposing fines or shutting down businesses for violations of mask mandates. The order also allowed restaurants to immediately reopen at full capacity and restricted local governments from ordering restaurants to operate at less than half-capacity.On November 24, amid an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the state throughout the autumn, DeSantis extended this order. By late fall, confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose again in Florida, with over 10,000 new cases per day reported on over half the days of December 2020 and 13 of the first 14 days of 2021. 21,015 new cases were reported for December 31 on January 2, the highest daily report for 2020. On July 31, 2021, Florida recorded 21,683 new cases in one day, the highest at any time in the pandemic, driven by the delta variant of COVID-19.
As of September 16,2021 [update] , the Florida Department of Health had reported 3,485,163 COVID-19 cases and 51,240 deaths among residents of the state. Among all US states Florida has the third-highest per capita case rate, behind only Tennessee and North Dakota. As of July 2021, one in every five new COVID-19 cases recorded in the United States came from Florida. Since the start of the pandemic approximately 1 of every 402 Florida residents has died of COVID-19.
Vaccines authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been administered in Florida since December 14, 2020. As of May 2,2021 [update] , Florida has administered 15,488,105 COVID-19 vaccine doses with 42% of the population having received at least one shot and 30% of the population being fully vaccinated.
This section needs to be updated.(August 2021)
February 29, 2020: Florida state health laboratories in Tampa, Jacksonville, and Miami are able to process COVID-19 tests locally rather than sending them to federal labs, cutting processing time from 3–5 days to 1–2 days.
March 1: Florida becomes the tenth state to confirm its first COVID-19 cases: one in Manatee County, and one in Hillsborough County with a woman who had recently returned from Italy.
March 3: The Florida Department of Health sets up a 24-hour COVID-19 hotline.A third presumptive positive case in Hillsborough County is reported.
March 5: A new case is announced involving an elderly man with severe underlying health conditions in Santa Rosa County who had recently traveled outside the United States.The Department of Health announces three new cases late on March 6, two in Broward County and one in Lee County. Officials also announce two deaths.
March 8: Publix starts to limit the amount of certain items per customer because some shoppers began to hoard items like toilet paper and other essential items.
March 9: Florida House members announce that five members attended a conference with infected COVID-19 participants.Governor DeSantis declares a State of Emergency. Princess Cruises terminates a planned stop of the cruise ship Caribbean Princess in Grand Cayman after it was discovered that two of its crew members had recently transferred from Grand Princess in California. The cruise ship is ordered to anchor off the coast of Fort Lauderdale while its passengers and crew could be tested for COVID-19. Furthermore, a fourth Princess Cruises cruise ship, Regal Princess, is placed on a "no sail order" off the Florida coast after it was discovered that two of its crew members had recently transferred from Grand Princess in California.
March 11: UF Health Shands Hospital confirm they are treating their first patient with a case of COVID-19, but decline to say whether it was the same person who tested positive for the virus earlier in the week.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) award Florida $27 million to help quell the pandemic.
March 13: It is confirmed that Mayor of Miami Francis X. Suarez had contracted the virus.The Department of Health confirms that an Orange County resident died in California after contracting COVID-19 while traveling.
March 14: Orlando International Airport confirms that one of its Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents had tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total of TSA agents across the United States to have the virus to five after four other TSA agents at Mineta San Jose International Airport in California tested positive.
March 17: Governor DeSantis orders bars and nightclubs to close for 30 days,gyms announce that they would be closing, and the first medical group offers drive through COVID-19 testing in Central Florida.
March 18: Nineteen senior living facilities are suspected to be infected by the coronavirus.The state purchases 2,500 testing kits. In addition, congressman Mario Diaz-Balart from Miami tests positive for the coronavirus. After his diagnosis, he self-quarantines in his Washington, D.C. apartment.
March 20: A Pasco and a Broward County resident dies.A man who returned to California after visiting Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando approximately two weeks prior dies from the virus. DeSantis orders that restaurants use take-out and delivery only to prevent guests from eating at restaurants.
March 30: Although Florida law does not allow retired state personnel to return to work until six months after their retirement, DeSantis makes an exception and allows the retired healthcare and front line workers to come back to workIn addition, he signs an Executive Order for Miami-Dade County, Broward County and Palm Beach County residents to stay at home. The Department of Education announces that schools will not be able to resume in person classes until at least May 1. After learning that some patients were leaving isolation and going out in public, the Seminole County requires those who were diagnosed with COVID-19 to stay at home until medically cleared.
April 1: DeSantis issues a statewide stay-at-home order following growing pressure to do so.
April 12: The Tampa Bay Times reported a discrepancy between the counts of COVID-19 deaths in the state: the Florida Department of Health had reported 419, while Florida's medical examiners reported 461. The health department counts only Florida residents and organizes the data by the person's place of residence (to avoid double-counting); in contrast, the medical examiners count anyone who dies in the state, which includes visitors. The health department's analysis causes several days of reporting delay, which is a further reason it is difficult to compare the numbers.In response to the Tampa Bay Times article, Florida officials stopped the release of the medical examiners' list, saying that it should be reviewed and possibly redacted, but did not publicly specify what exactly they wanted to redact.
April 17: DeSantis allows some Florida beaches to reopen if done safely
April 18 It is announced that schools would remain closed for the remainder of the semester.
April 20: The Florida Department of Economic Opportunities releases a dashboard showing that 1.5 million unemployment claims were made during the last month.The Florida National Guard assists with COVID-19 sample collections at a State Nursing home for Veterans in Pembroke Pines. In addition, they have helped across Florida in more than 50,000 COVID-19 tests and numerous screenings at airports.
April 21: Flagler County announces its beaches would reopen for exercising and fishing but not socializing,and the sunbathing restriction was lifted on Brevard County.
May 4: The state of Florida removed 171 presumed COVID-19 cases with onset in January and February from its official COVID-19 database. The individuals were subsequently all still counted after they tested positive with CDC confirmation.
May 5: Rebekah Jones, a geographic data scientist involved in tracking cases for the state, is terminated from her position by the Florida Department of Health. Jones claimed that the Department of Health wanted data on Florida's coronavirus dashboard changed to support Governor Ron DeSantis' plans to resume economic activity. She further contended that she was fired for refusing to alter the information. A statement from DeSantis' office denied this, instead claiming that she was fired for insubordination and unilateral decision-making regarding her dashboard additions. DeSantis added that Jones contradicted state epidemiologists.(One year later, Jones was granted whistleblower status, which will provide her with the right to confidentiality while the circumstances of her termination are investigated.)
May 17: Monroe County commissioners vote for a mask mandate that requires all employees and customers of businesses to wear masks.
May 18: Broward County and Miami-Dade County enter Phase One of reopening.
May 22: The Miami Beach City Commission votes that Miami-Dade hotels and beaches reopen by June 1, but that did not happen.
May 27: Ocean Drive on Miami Beach is closed off to allow restaurants to expand their seating.People are to along the sidewalks and in the closed off streets to maximize the restaurant capacities.
June 1: The Florida Keys reopened and lifted the roadblock.Earlier in May, in a virtual round table, Miami-Dade Emergency Manager Frank Rollason said the county plans to test everyone coming into a shelter for COVID-19 and separate people who are ill or have symptoms from healthy people in different parts of the shelter. June 1, he contradicted himself in an email and said the county plans to screen evacuees for symptoms, not test them. The state hopes to have rapid testing by August or September and to be able to test people entering and exiting shelters by then.
June 3: DeSantis announces that Florida could move into Phase 2 except south Florida, specifically Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach, which need to submit plans for reopening. Phase 2 in Florida begins, with bars allowed to open at 50% capacity with social distancing and sanitation.
June 10: Miami Beach reopens with social distancing guidelines.
June 14: An alternate website for tracking COVID-19 cases in Florida, created by Rebekah Jones, debuted.In an interview with NPR, she claims that in the current Florida Health dashboard, positive tests are only counted once per person but a person who tests negative multiple times is counted towards the data every time. She states that reporting positivity as a percentage of total tests instead of as a percentage of the total population tested lowers the reported COVID-19 positivity rate.
June 16: Hawkers St. Pete restaurant in St. Petersburg temporary shuts down until further notice due to a spike of cases in the city and Pinellas County.An ice hockey game in the Tampa Bay metropolitan area led to 14 of the 22 players and a rink staff member testing positive for COVID-19.
June 19: A mandatory mask mandate goes into effect in Tampa. It applies to all indoor locations outside of one's home and anywhere in public where one cannot maintain social distancing. Those who are under the age of 2 are exempt from it.
A mask mandate that applies to businesses in St. Petersburg goes into effect.
June 21: The dashboard created by Rebekah Jones says that "the DOH "Cases" include residents and non-residents, but exclude those who received positive anti-body test results".
June 23: A 17-year old from Lee County who attended a 100-person church function dies from COVID-19. The teenager had been treated at home with azithromycin, hydroxychloroquine, and oxygen before being transferred to the Golisano Children's Hospital then to the Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami.
June 24: The daily positive test rate reaches 20%.New York, New Jersey and Connecticut impose 14-day quarantines on visitors from states with infection rates above a certain threshold, including Florida. A study by Scripps Research Institute reports that COVID-19 may be mutating in Florida, making the virus more likely to infect cells.
During the month of June the seven day moving average of new COVID-19 cases in Florida increased nearly ten-fold, from 726 new cases per day on June 1 to 7,140 new cases on July 1, 2020.
July 2: Florida's Department of Health stated that test results starting July 2 would include antigen test results received from the state public health laboratory and commercial and hospital laboratories.
July 3: An 11-year-old boy from Miami-Dade County dies from COVID-19 complications, making him the youngest person in Florida to die from COVID-19.
July 7: More than 40 Florida hospitals maxed out or were nearing capacity of their intensive care unit beds.
July 12: 15,299 new COVID-19 cases are reported by the state, the highest daily amount during the pandemic.
July 14: Miami is declared the worst hit locale in the state by Dr Lilian Abbo, chief of infection prevention at Jackson Health System.
July 24: A longtime staffer of Rep. Vern Buchanan died of the disease after being hospitalized 9 days previously.
July 27: Manatee County commissioners vote to approve an ordinance requiring masks to be worn inside private businesses. It does not apply to those who are under the age of 6 and with certain medical conditions.
July 30: 253 deaths are reported, the highest daily count during the pandemic.
Between July 30 and August 5, many state-run test sites were closed due to Hurricane Isaías.Test sites in some western counties not in the hurricane's path remained open but state-run sites in Miami-Dade, Orange and other higher population eastern counties were closed until Monday, August 3, with some sites reopening before the scheduled full reopening on Wednesday, August 5. The interruption of full daily testing would lead to a dip in confirmed cases for several days.
August 24: 52 nursing home residents at Fair Havens Center in Miami Springs died during a COVID-19 outbreak at the center. Acting on five complaints against the center, Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) conducted in inspection that found numerous issues and the Agency shut down new admissions to the center. A certified nursing assistant was infected at the center in April, her husband and son became infected, and her 33-year-old son died in May.
September 1: The Florida Department of Health and Division of Emergency Management announced a severing of ties with Quest Diagnostics, after the private laboratory failed to report nearly 75,000 tests to the state before that day, including some tests from as far back as April.Of the 7,643 positive cases reported on September 1, 3,870 were collected by Quest between April 22 and August 27.
September 24: Governor DeSantis suggested a “bill of rights” to protect college students from being expelled for attending parties that violate their school's COVID-19 rules.
September 25: DeSantis issued an order that effectively nullified public health measures imposed by various local governments in Florida to combat the spread of the virus. DeSantis's order prohibits local governments from imposing fines or shutting down businesses for violations of mask mandates. The order also allows restaurants to immediately reopen at full capacity and restricted local governments from ordering restaurants to operate at less than half-capacity.On November 24, amid an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the state throughout the autumn, DeSantis extended this order.
September 25: Tallahassee police broke up a dozen large gatherings over the weekend. This included a party of more than 1,000 people near Florida State University. Over 1,400 positive cases had been identified at Florida State between August 2 and September 26.
September 25: In reaction to brutal break up a party near FSU, Gov. Ron DeSantis proposes college ‘bill of rights’ to party.
September 27: Manatee County commissioners vote to end a countywide mask mandate.
September 28: Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the decision to reopen bars and restaurants at 100% capacity, and to prohibit localities from limiting business capacity to less than 50% was “very concerning” and “really asking for trouble.”
September 29: Governor DeSantis announced that the state will receive over six million rapid antigen tests for COVID-19, which typically provide results within fifteen minutes. The tests will initially be made available to long-term and senior care facilities, with the intention to later expand to schools. The state expected the first shipment of tests arrive by October 2.A sharp rise in cases, with 3,259 reported, occurred that day, which followed 813 cases reported the day before, the lowest daily count in months. Test positivity for the day was 4.98%; the day before was at 4.21%.
October 10, 2020: A daily report of test results was not provided. The Florida Department of Health explained that results provided by Helix Laboratory on Friday evening included nearly 400,000 previously-submitted results. The Department of Health stated that the results would be provided by the next day, after the data was reconciled.
October 12: Florida reported a 13 percent increase over the past week in new cases. The total of 730,000 cases was about 1 case for every 29 Floridians.
October 14: The Florida-LSU football game was postponed until December. A total of 19 players for the Gators tested positive, as did coach Dan Mullen, who had urged that fans be allowed to pack the stadium.
October 17: Florida reported its highest coronavirus numbers in two months. The seven-day average was more than 3,300 cases. Reporting anomalies made it more difficult to gather statistical trends. Positivity rate was 5.2%, with over 2,000 hospitalizations.
October 19: With tourist season approaching, rising cases were reported in the Florida Keys, with 201 cases in the past 14 days, and a 7% positive test rate.
October 22: WUFT reported that Florida universities "have received scores of formal complaints from students about their own classmates’ behavior during the pandemic,” such as packing bars off campus and holding parties without masks or social distancing.Governor DeSantis defended the practice of holding Thanksgiving gatherings for the elderly in long-term care facilities, despite the potential health risks.
October 23: Florida reported 16,500 deaths, and moved past New Jersey to become 4th in the nation in the number of deaths.
October 24: A Florida Department of Health official in Orange County urged parents not to host birthday parties of any size, after half of the 30 attendees at an Orlando area birthday party contracted the virus.
December 7: Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) agents raided the home of Rebekah Jones, a data scientist who was previously employed by the state and helped develop the state's COVID-19 Dashboard.
December 14: United Airlines flight 591 departed from Orlando, Florida with 164 people on board for a 5.5 hour flight to Los Angeles, California. A 69-year old man suffered from respiratory distress on the flight, was given CPR, and the flight was diverted to New Orleans, Louisiana. The man died at a hospital, and his cause of death was listed as “acute respiratory failure; COVID-19". An emergency medical technician who performed the CPR later reported COVID-19 symptoms but received three negative test results. Two other passengers also took turns in performing chest compressions. A bag valve mask was used to provide oxygen, and there was no mouth-to-mouth resuscitation performed.
December 17: The State of Florida reported 13,148 new cases, largest since July 16.
December 31: A confirmed case of the new SARS-CoV-2 variant from the United Kingdom was reported in Florida. The patient is a Martin County man with no travel history.
January 6, 2021: The CDC announced that it had found at least 22 confirmed cases of the more contagious SARS-CoV-2 variant in Florida.
July 31: Florida recorded 21,683 new cases in one day, the highest at any time in the pandemic. Florida's test positivity rate reached 18.82%, driven by the delta variant of COVID-19.
August 6: The state continued to break records with 23,909 new cases on Friday, August 6, according to the CDC.
August 8: The pastor of a Jacksonville church stated that six church members had died of COVID-19 within the previous two weeks.
|March 1, 2020||Public health emergency declared.|
|March 17, 2020||All bars and nightclubs ordered to close for 30 days.|
|March 17, 2020||School closures extended to April 15, and state-mandated school testing cancelled.|
|March 28, 2020||Emergency alert sent to cell phones throughout Florida from the state's Surgeon General regarding public safety.|
|March 30, 2020||Stay-at-home order issued for several South Florida counties.|
|April 1, 2020||Stay-at-home order issued for entire state.|
|June 1, 2020||Statewide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures extended by 30 days.|
|June 5, 2020||"Phase 2" of reopening begins, except for the counties of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach.|
|June 26, 2020||Banned alcohol sales at all bars across the state.|
|September 25, 2020||"Phase 3" of reopening begins.|
On March 1, Governor DeSantis declared a public health emergency after two cases were confirmed in Manatee County and Hillsborough County.On March 17, he ordered all bars and nightclubs to be closed for 30 days, extended school closures to April 15, and cancelled state-mandated school testing.
By the third week of the pandemic's presence in Florida, DeSantis began attracting criticism for the state's slow response to the pandemic, particularly for deferring beach closings to local governments during spring break while vacationers continued to congregate. The Miami Herald 's editorial board wrote an editorial condemning DeSantis' inaction in requesting help from the federal government, while noting his vocal support of U.S. president Donald Trump. Speculation mounted that DeSantis' decision not to lock down the state was influenced by business interests, instead of health experts. Business lobbyists, including the Florida Chamber of Commerce, urged the Governor not to "take drastic measures that might shut down the state's economy." On March 27, more than 900 health care workers signed a letter asking DeSantis to order citizens to shelter-in-place, and take other measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. A similar letter written by Doctors for America was signed by 500 health care professionals a few days earlier.
On March 27, DeSantis expanded a previous order requiring airline travelers from New York City to self-quarantine for fourteen days to include people who enter from Louisiana via Interstate 10.
On March 28, an emergency alert was sent to cell phones throughout Florida from the state's Surgeon General, Dr. Scott A. Rivkees, regarding public safety among those 65 and older and those with medical conditions, as well as the full population.
On March 30, DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order for the South Florida counties of Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Monroe, where over 58% of the state's COVID-19 cases were concentrated. He stated that the order would remain in effect at least until the middle of May.
On April 1, DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order for the entire state, effective for 30 days, after a call with President Trump. This followed criticism from experts that more strict measures were necessary to contain the virus.
On April 9, while discussing the possibility of sending children back to school, DeSantis said, "I don't think nationwide there's been a single fatality under 25." (This was not true; by this point, several Americans under 25 had died of COVID-19.) DeSantis suggested that the flu was more dangerous to this age group.
On June 1, DeSantis extended the statewide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures another 30 days, lasting through July 1.Residents of Florida who receive unemployment payments were confused in mid-June when the state of Florida switched their payments from weekly to bi-weekly, with no apparent notice.
On June 5, DeSantis issued an executive order implementing "Phase 2" of a reopening plan outside of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, allowing some businesses (such as bars, pubs, and indoor venues such as arcades, bowling alleys, cinemas, and concert venues) to expand to 50% capacity, and personal care services to resume operations. The order recommended against gatherings of more than 50 people.
On June 16, DeSantis said 260 Orlando International Airport workers tested positive for COVID-19. He also said that the increase of cases was due to an increase of testing and that even though cases are increasing, "they are not rolling back."Orlando airport said this was false, and that only 2 out of 500 employees tested positive.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo considered the idea of quarantining people who travel from Florida to New York due to concern of rising COVID-19 cases in Florida. They monitored for an influx of cases of people traveling from Florida.On June 20, DeSantis said that he was cracking down on restaurants not practicing strict social distancing guideline. He also noted that the new cases were trending in the younger generation, with much of the cases being people between the ages of 20 and 35 years old.
On June 23, DeSantis said that Florida bars and restaurants would be liable to lose their liquor licenses if they violate the state's social distancing guidelines.13 employees and at least 28 patrons of The Knight's Pub in Orlando tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in The Knight's Pub losing their liquor license. Due to the increase of cases, some hospitals, like Palm Beach Gardens and JFK Medical Center, reported having no open ICU beds. However, State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees told hospitals to only report COVID-19 patients as ICU cases if they required ICU level of care, since some ICUs were being used to simply isolate COVID-19 patients from other hospital patients, and to report non-ICU-level care cases as COVID-hospitalized cases. The same day, Florida banned liquor sales at bars that do not offer substantial food menus. Strip clubs remained open.
As of June 26, 660 inmates and 24 staff at the Homestead Correctional Institution tested positive for COVID-19, and 23 deaths have been accounted for at the Institution due to the virus.
On September 10, 2020, the state rescinded the executive order prohibiting alcohol sales at bars.
On September 25, Governor DeSantis announced Phase 3, which lifted all capacity restrictions on most businesses. In addition, municipalities are prohibited from collecting fines for violations of local health orders, and may not restrict restaurants to less than 50% capacity unless they receive approval from the state; they must provide justification for the decision, and detail any possible economic impact.
From April 2021, DeSantis has signed multiple executive orders designed to prohibit the use of COVID-19 mitigations, citing alleged infringements of personal freedoms.On April 2, 2021, Governor DeSantis signed an executive order prohibiting any business from requiring proof of vaccination or recovery ("vaccine passports") as a prerequisite for entry or the provision of services, punishable by fine of $5,000 per-instance.
On May 3, 2021, DeSantis signed an executive order officially rescinding the state of emergency and all COVID-19-related public health orders. This order superseded all local public health orders, and also prohibited municipalities from enacting any further public health order related to COVID-19.On July 30, DeSantis signed an executive order prohibiting municipalities and school boards from mandating that masks be worn in schools.
In July 2021, Norwegian Cruise Line sued the Surgeon General of Florida, arguing that the prohibition of vaccine mandates "poses imminent, substantial, irreparable harms" to the company, and prevented it from being able to ensure the health and safety of its passengers and crew. The DeSantis administration argued that the company "has made the disappointing and unlawful choice to join the CDC in discriminating against children and other individuals who cannot be vaccinated or who have opted not to be vaccinated for reasons of health, religion, or conscience."On August 8, District Judge Kathleen M. Williams issued a preliminary injunction against the prohibition, arguing that it "fails to provide a valid evidentiary, factual, or legal predicate", and that "documentary proof of vaccination will expedite passengers' entry into virtually every single country and port where Plaintiffs intend to sail."
On June 10, 2020, it was announced that Broward County and Palm Beach County were considering twice-a-week school for the fall.On June 16, 2020, Broward County announced that schools would reopen on August 16, 2020 with hybrid learning, both in-person and online education.
On July 6, 2020, the Florida Department of Education ordered all public schools to reopen in person. This was challenged by the Florida Education Association (FEA). On August 24, 2020, the Second Judicial Circuit Court issued an injunction against the order.The case was appealed to the First District Court of Appeal, which ruled in mid October 2020 in favor of the reopening order. A rehearing was requested in late October 2020 but ultimately the FEA voluntarily dismissed the case on December 23, 2020.
From August 10 to December 21, 2020, cases of school-related COVID-19 included 25,094 among students and 9,630 among staff members. Of all 2,809,553 registered students, there were 101 hospitalizations and no deaths. Among staff members, there were 219 hospitalizations and 13 deaths. Contact tracing revealed 10,092 positive cases in people who had close-contact in a school setting with people who had school-related COVID-19. 62 of the 67 school districts had at least one case, with a total of 695 school-based outbreaks. 28 schools in 12 districts closed temporarily because of COVID-19.
On June 23, Carlos Gimenez, Mayor of Miami-Dade County, said police would be enforcing rules concerning wearing masks in public places and social distancing.On June 25, Palm Beach County started enforcing a mask mandate. On June 26, Key West implemented a mandatory mask law, making it punishable either by citation or a $500 fine, and they canceled 4 July fireworks. At the end of June, the commissioners for St. Johns County voted 4–1 against requiring masks indoors. Less than two weeks later, one of the St. Johns commissioners who had voted against masks was hospitalized in critical condition with a COVID-19 diagnosis.
In August 2020, Marion County, Florida's sheriff's office announced that deputies and visitors to the police stations would be forbidden from wearing masks.
Beginning September 25, 2020, as part of an executive order from the governor which coincided with "Phase 3" of reopening the state, local governments are not able to collect fines from individuals who violate local COVID-19-related health orders.
On July 30, 2021, Governor DeSantis signed an executive order that prohibits schools and school boards from mandating masks, citing a desire to preserve personal freedoms and parents' rights to choose.Schools that mandate masks, thereby violating this order, may lose their state funding. Additionally, the governor's office threatened to "withhold" the paychecks of individual superintendents and school board members who "intentionally defy" the order.
The order faced wide criticism, due to the fact that there are no vaccines currently approved by the FDA for children younger than 12, and that the CDC had recommended the wearing of masks by all school students and faculty due to Delta variant. A number of school districts announced that they would defy the order and mandate masks; Alberto M. Carvalho, superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, stated that "At no point shall I allow my decision to be influenced by a threat to my paycheck; a small price to pay considering the gravity of this issue and the potential impact to the health and well-being of our students and dedicated employees."Two lawsuits against the order were filed on August 6, alleging that it violates provisions in the state constitution which prescribe that "adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools".
On August 10, White House press secretary Jen Psaki described Florida schools as having shown "boldness" and "courage" in their actions, and stated that the Biden administration was looking into ways to help "support districts and schools as they try to follow the science, do the right thing and save lives", including the possibility of distributing funding allocated to Florida under the American Rescue Plan.
On August 12, DeSantis's press secretary Christina Pushaw told the Miami Herald that the Governor could not actually withhold pay from officials who willfully violate the executive order since they are not state employees, and because they might "take funding from other needs in their own district" in order to cover their salaries. She argued that "those officials should own their decision — and that means owning the consequences of their decisions rather than demanding students, teachers, and school staff to foot the bill for their potential grandstanding."During a ten-day period in late August and early September, 15 staff members in the Miami-Dade County public schools died of COVID-19.
On August 27, the state’s Second Judicial Circuit ruled that the Florida Department of Education could not interfere with local mask mandates.However, on September 10, the First District Court of Appeal reversed the decision, reinstating Governor DeSantis's policy that masks should always be optional. The same day, the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, suspecting that a statewide ban on local mask mandates may violate the rights of students with disabilities, announced its intent to probe DeSantis's policy. On October 7, the Republican-led state Board of Education voted to penalize eight school districts for requiring masks.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez signed order to close beaches starting Friday, July 3, 2020 and ending Tuesday, July 7, with a limit of gatherings to 50 people.Broward County and Palm Beach County soon after followed Miami-Dade's example and decided to close their beaches for 4 July as well.
On July 2, 2020, Mayor Gimenez ordered a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. He also ordered all on-site dining to close from 12:01 a.m. to 6 a.m. daily at restaurants with seating for more than eight people. Both orders were to last until further notice.
On March 20, 2021, the City of Miami Beach declared a state of emergency and an 8 p.m. curfew due to overcrowded streets during spring break.
On July 7, 2020, DeSantis announced that Florida had received federal grants under the CARES Act to hire contact tracers. According to the state's daily report for July 6 out of 213,794 confirmed cases, over 40% had still not been contacted. Contact tracing has met with challenges as contact tracers have been unable to track the spread at crowded parties because young people have not wanted to share the information with contact tracers.
During the months of June, July, and August 2020, the number of COVID-19 cases in Florida increased over eleven-fold, from 56,830 on June 1 to 631,040 on September 1. COVID-19 deaths lag by several weeks behind case counts, but by the end of July, Florida set new death records on four consecutive days, culminating in 257 deaths on July 31. Since June 1, the seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases in Florida has increased 388%, from 726 new cases per day on June 1, to 2,757 new cases per day as of September 23. During the months of June, July, and August 2020, the seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 deaths increased nearly four-fold, from an average of 29.7 newly reported deaths per day on June 1 to 113 deaths per day on September 1.
|County||Cases||Hosp.||Deaths||Population||Cases / 100k||Deaths / 100k||CFR||Notes|
|These figures were reported by the Florida Department of Health on March 7, 2021, except where noted otherwise.|
COVID-19 deaths among Floridians by age as of October 30, 2021:
|Age group||Death count||% of deaths|
|85y and over||13,866||24.0%|
Weekly all-cause deaths in Florida:
Early in March 2020, the pandemic began having an impact throughout Florida as state and local government, businesses, and public institutions took measures to slow the spread of the virus.
On March 12, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts announced that the Walt Disney World Resort would close from March 15 to end of May, later announcing that the parks and resorts would stay closed indefinitely. Universal Parks & Resorts also announced that Universal Orlando Resort would close from March 15 until at least the end of the month, also later announcing that the parks and resorts would stay closed until May 31.Other theme parks in Florida such as SeaWorld Orlando, Legoland Florida, and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay also decided to close from March 13 until further notice.
Despite the increase of COVID-19 cases in Florida, theme parks reopened in mid-July. Although a major exception to this would be Legoland Florida which reopened on June 1.On July 11, Disney reopened Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios reopened on July 15.
On March 2, AARP warned Florida nursing homes to prepare and provide adequate supplies of protective wearand the Florida Department of Health issued guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19. On March 11, DeSantis placed limits on who could visit nursing homes. On March 23, the Miami Herald, seeking the name of every elder care facility that had a positive test for COVID-19, filed a public records request with the Florida Department of Health and the Agency for Health Care Administration. The governor's office refused to release the information. On April 9, the Miami Herald provided the required notification to the State of Florida that they would be filing a lawsuit to obtain the information. After receiving a call from the governor's office, however, the Miami Herald's law firm, Holland & Knight, dropped the case. The Miami Herald planned to proceed with a different law firm. The government subsequently released a list that, by April 21, included 313 facilities where either caregivers or residents had tested positive. The list was incomplete and did not provide data on the number of individuals infected or deceased.
On March 10, Joseph Glover, the provost of the University of Florida (UF), sent out a recommendation to UF professors to transition their classes online.The following day, UF announced all its classes for the spring semester would be transitioned online by the following Monday, and encouraged students to return to their hometowns.
On March 11, Florida State University announced that classes would be moved online from March 23 to April 5, with in-person classes expected to resume on April 6.The Board of Governors of the State University System of Florida directed all state universities to make plans to transition into remote learning effective immediately. Essential functions, such as dining and library services were still operational. Florida International University in Miami announced that it would transition to remote learning starting from March 12 until at least April 4. The University of South Florida in Tampa announced that all classes will consist of remote instruction for the rest of Spring 2020 semester. On March 17, University of Central Florida announced that it would be canceling graduation; two days later, one of their students tested positive for COVID-19. On June 10, Florida International University received a $1 million grant from the National Institute of Health for vaccines.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection announced on March 22 that they would be closing all state parks to the public.Miami Beach reopened a number of public parks on April 29. Over the following weekend, authorities issued over 7,000 verbal warnings to people who were not wearing face masks. Most were at South Pointe Park. On the morning of May 4, the city announced that South Pointe Park was closed again until further notice. Pinellas and Manatee County Public beaches would reopen on May 4 with both counties requiring social distancing. County parks in Hillsborough County would reopen on May 18.
For the 2020 Fourth of July weekend:
Most of the state's sports teams were affected by the pandemic. Several leagues postponed or suspended their seasons starting March 12. Major League Baseball (MLB) canceled the remainder of spring training,and announced that the season would be postponed indefinitely. The National Basketball Association announced the season would be suspended for 30 days, affecting the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic. The National Hockey League season was suspended indefinitely, affecting the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning. The Miami Open, a major tennis tournament on the ATP Tour and WTA Tour was canceled for the first time in its history on March 12.
In the wake of sports cancellations, the professional wrestling promotions All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and WWE re-located their weekly television programs (which normally toured to different arenas each episode) to sites in Florida in mid-March. AEW filmed its AEW Dynamite and all pay-per-views at Daily's Place in Jacksonville (which shares ownership with AEW via its lead investor Shahid Khan) until April 1, and WWE filmed all of its programming at its WWE Performance Center training facility in Orlando (including its flagship event WrestleMania 36, which was originally to be held at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium). Both promotions were filmed behind closed doors with no audience and only essential staff present.AEW re-located to a closed set in Norcross, Georgia on April 1, where it filmed content through April 3.
On April 9, the Division of Emergency Management amended its state-wide stay-at-home order, categorizing employees of "professional sports and media production with a national audience," if closed to the general public, essential workers.The following Monday, April 13, Mayor of Orange County Jerry Demings confirmed that this change would allow WWE to continue its closed door tapings in the state, and were implemented following discussions with the office of Governor DeSantis. It was subsequently reported that WWE was warned of the stay-at-home restrictions by officials, but that DeSantis deemed the company's operations critical to Florida's economy, and approved the new exemption in response.
The next day, DeSantis defended his decision, explaining that, "if you think about it, we have never had a period like this in modern American history where you've had so little new content, particularly in the sporting realm," and suggested that other closed-door sporting events — such as golf (particularly, a proposed rematch between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson) and NASCAR races — could also be held under the new exception.Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation Halsey Beshears had also made a post on Twitter directed to the mixed martial arts promotion UFC on April 7, suggesting that his department could help sanction their events there (however, after it intended to hold UFC 249 and other fights at a tribal casino in California, the promotion suspended all events indefinitely on April 9, by request of its U.S. rightsholders ESPN Inc. and The Walt Disney Company).
Orlando Sentinel columnists Mike Bianchi and Scott Maxwell questioned whether these actions were intended to help the state gain favor from the Trump administration; WWE owner and chairman Vince McMahon has been an ally of Trump, who had made recurring appearances in WWE programming as a celebrity figure prior to his presidency, and was inducted to the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013.The same day as Deming's announcement, America First Action — a super PAC led by McMahon's wife and former Administrator of the Small Business Administration, Linda McMahon — pledged $18.5 million on advertising in Florida for Trump's 2020 re-election campaign. On April 14, McMahon was named to a federal advisory group on the "re-opening" of the country's economy, joining other notable sports figures. During the daily press briefing, Trump addressed him and UFC head Dana White (who is also a Trump ally) with the title, "The Great."
Following the implementation of this exception, several sporting events were announced for the state; on April 24, UFC announced that a new UFC 249 and two UFC Fight Night cards would be held in Jacksonville in May.Two televised golf events benefiting COVID-19-related causes were scheduled for local courses, including TaylorMade Driving Relief at Seminole Golf Club—a skins game by NBC Sports and Golf Channel featuring Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff —on May 17, and The Match: Champions for Charity on May 24 at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound—a four-ball competition by Turner Sports featuring Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson paired with Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. On May 14, NASCAR announced a new June 14 date for its postponed Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead–Miami Speedway. On May 23, All Elite Wrestling returned to Jacksonville for its pay-per-view Double or Nothing (relocated from Las Vegas), with most of the event being held at Daily's Place, and a main event "Stadium Stampede" match within the confines of neighboring TIAA Bank Field.
On May 23, the NBA confirmed that it was in talks with Walt Disney World in Orlando to use it as one or more centralized sites for the resumption of the NBA season.On June 4, the league approved a plan to host the remainder of the season at Walt Disney World's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Major League Soccer similarly announced on June 10 that it would host the one-off MLS is Back Tournament at the same site, with all 26 MLS clubs competing to qualify for the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League.
As part of the NHL's return-to-play, training facilities reopened on June 10.On June 19, a number of COVID-19 cases were reported among team training facilities in Florida, including the Philadelphia Phillies (MLB) and Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL). In Major League Baseball, the Toronto Blue Jays temporarily closed its spring training facility in Dunedin after a player showed signs of symptoms. In combination with similar concerns regarding facilities in Arizona, all MLB spring training facilities were closed league-wide for cleaning. On June 24, WWE announced that multiple cases had been recorded among its staff, including performers and on-air personality Renee Young. WWE stated that it would now test all performers prior to its television broadcasts. Minor League Baseball, headquartered in St. Petersburg, announced on June 30 that the 2020 season would not be played, affecting all teams statewide and nationally.
With the introduction of Phase 3, some of Florida's sports teams began to reintroduce in-person spectators in late-2020, though still voluntarily limiting capacity in accordance with federal guidance.Super Bowl LV was held at Raymond James Stadium on February 7, 2021, with the stadium hosting just under 25,000 spectators. Two months later, Raymond James Stadium hosted WrestleMania 37, WWE's first in-person event since the onset of the pandemic. WWE had originally planned to host WrestleMania 37 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, but delayed their hosting to 2023 due to current health orders in the state, and to compensate for Tampa not being able to host the event in 2020.
Due to Canadian border restrictions, multiple professional sports teams based in the country temporarily re-located their home games to sites in Florida for all or part of their 2020 and/or 2021 seasons, including the Toronto Raptors (Tampa Bay),Toronto Blue Jays (who began the season at their Spring Training home of TD Ballpark in Dunedin), and Major League Soccer's CF Montreal and Toronto FC (Fort Lauderdale and Orlando).
The Florida Chamber of Commerce is an organization devoted to the advocacy of private businesses in the state of Florida.
Ronald Dion DeSantis is an American politician and attorney serving as the 46th governor of Florida since 2019. A member of the Republican Party, he represented Florida's 6th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 2013 to 2018.
Ten of the first twenty confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States occurred in California, the first of which was confirmed on January 26, 2020. All of the early confirmed cases were persons who had recently travelled to China, as testing was restricted to this group. On January 29, 2020, as disease containment protocols were still being developed, the U.S. Department of State evacuated 195 persons from Wuhan, China aboard a chartered flight to March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, and in the process may have contributed to spread within the state and the US at large. On February 5, 2020, the U.S. evacuated 345 more citizens from Hubei Province to two military bases in California, Travis Air Force Base in Solano County and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, where they were quarantined for 14 days. A state of emergency was declared in the state on March 4, 2020 and as of February 24, 2021 remains in effect. A mandatory statewide stay-at-home order was issued on March 19, 2020 that was ended on January 25, 2021. On April 6, 2021, the state announced plans to fully reopen the economy by June 15, 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic in Massachusetts is part of an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. The first confirmed case was reported on February 1, 2020, and the number of cases began increasing rapidly on March 5. Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency on March 10. By March 12, more than a hundred people had tested positive for the virus. Most early cases were traceable to a company meeting held in Boston in late February by the Cambridge-based biotechnology firm Biogen. In May 2020, Massachusetts was third in the U.S. for both overall number of cases and for cases per capita, behind New York and New Jersey.
The COVID-19 pandemic in Cuba is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. The virus was confirmed to have spread to Cuba on 11 March 2020 when three Italian tourists tested positive for the virus.
The COVID-19 pandemic in Texas is an ongoing viral pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a novel infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The state of Texas confirmed its first case on February 13, 2020, among U.S. nationals evacuated from China to Joint Base San Antonio–Lackland beginning in early February; however, retrospective analyses have suggested a much earlier origin than previously thought. The first documented case of COVID-19 in Texas outside of evacuees at Lackland was confirmed on March 4 in Fort Bend County, and many of the state's largest cities recorded their first cases throughout March. The state recorded its first death associated with the disease on March 17 in Matagorda County.
The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached the U.S. state of Arizona in January 2020. As of June 3, 2021 Arizona public health authorities reported 322 new cases of COVID-19 and five deaths, bringing the cumulative totals since the start of the pandemic to 882,691 cases and 17,653 deaths. 12.3% of the state's population has been positively diagnosed with COVID-19 since the first case was reported on January 26, 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic was first detected in the U.S. state of Georgia on March 2, 2020. The state's first death came ten days later on March 12. As of April 17, 2021, there were 868,163 confirmed cases, 60,403 hospitalizations, and 17,214 deaths. All of Georgia's 159 counties now report COVID-19 cases, with Gwinnett County reporting over 85,000 cases and the next three counties now reporting over 56,000 cases each. As of October 23, 2020, forty-five Georgia counties have higher per capita COVID-19 case rates than New York City.
The COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S. state of New Jersey with the first confirmed case occurring in Bergen County on March 2, 2020, and testing positive on March 4. As of January 14, 2021, 576,720 cases were confirmed in the state, incurring 18,543 deaths.
The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached the U.S. state of Ohio on March 9, 2020, when the state's first cases were reported. The first death from COVID-19 in Ohio was reported on March 19. Subsequently, records supported by further testing showed that undetected cases had existed in Ohio since early January, with the first confirmed death on March 17. By April 23, Ohio had 656 confirmed deaths; by May 1, there were 1002 confirmed deaths. Accurate data was difficult to obtain due to limited test availability. By December 12, a total of 553,461 cases had been reported leading to 31,803 hospitalizations and 7,477 deaths.
The first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. state of Oklahoma was reported on March 7, 2020, with the first confirmed COVID-19 death occurring on March 18. For the 7 days ending May 19, 2021, Oklahoma public health authorities reported 965 new cases of COVID-19, for a cumulative total of 451,280 cases since the start of the pandemic. The state's death toll increased to 6,918 with 40 deaths reported over the previous 7 days.
The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached the U.S. state of Tennessee on March 5, 2020. As of March 1, 2021, there are 775,693 confirmed cases, 11,421 deaths, 750,755 recoveries, and 6,789,970 reported tests.
The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached the U.S. state of Wyoming in March 2020. On April 13, 2020, Wyoming became the last state in the U.S. to report its first death from COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S. state of Mississippi in March 2020.
State, territorial, tribal, and local governments have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States with various declarations of emergency, closure of schools and public meeting places, lockdowns, and other restrictions intended to slow the progression of the virus.
The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing viral pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a novel infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The pandemic has affected the city of Columbus, Ohio, as Ohio's stay-at-home order shuttered all nonessential businesses, and is causing event cancellations into 2021. The shutdown led to protests at the Ohio Statehouse, the state capitol building.
The following is a timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas.
The government of Texas's initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the state consisted of a decentralized system that was mostly reliant on local policies. As the pandemic progressed in Texas and throughout the rest of the country, the Texas government closed down several businesses and parks, and it eventually imposed a statewide stay-at-home order in late May. Then, between May and June 2020, the state government initiated a phased reopening, which was viewed as controversial. The reopening was phased back in June and July 2020 following a new surge of COVID-19 cases in the state. In March 2021, as COVID-19 vaccines began to be administered throughout the U.S., the Texas government reopened the state again.
The government of New York state initially responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with a stay-at-home order in March 2020. As the pandemic progressed in New York state and throughout the rest of the country, the state government, following recommendations issued by the U.S. government regarding state and local government responses, began imposing social distancing measures and workplace hazard controls.
On Thursday, July 2, Florida's Department of Health for the first time said test results would include "antigen test results" received from the state public health laboratory, as well as commercial and hospital laboratories.