This week Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez closed all parks, beaches, recreation facilities, and non-essential retail commercial establishments. This is a significant step for the seventh most populous county in the United States. Emergency Order 06-20 (issued March 18) closed all publicly- and privately-owned “parks, beaches, and recreational facilities in the incorporated and unincorporated areas of Miami-Dade County.” Order 06-20 took effect March 19 at 9 am.

Emergency Order 07-20 (issued March 19), orders that “[a]ll non-essential retail and commercial establishments” must close effective 9:00 pm on March 19, 2020 (the same day the order was issued). Among the 33 listed, an “Essential” retail or commercial business includes:

  • Healthcare providers, including hospitals, doctors, dentists, urgent care centers, rehabilitation facilities, mental health professionals, and pharmacies.
  • Grocery stores, convenience stores, and food banks.
  • Food cultivation businesses (i.e., farms).
  • Social service businesses providing basic life necessities for the economically disadvantaged.
  • Laundromats and dry cleaners.
  • Restaurants but only for delivery or carry out – in-house service is generally barred by Emergency Order 03-20, issued on March 17.
  • Childcare facilities.
  • Landscape and pool care businesses.
  • Pet supply stores.
  • Waste management services.
  • Travel companies (taxis, airlines, etc.).

As it stands, these Orders are set to expire on March 27, unless extended. Both orders will have significant implications for employers and will likely require employers to layoff workers. This likelihood will increase if the orders are further extended. As we discuss here, the California Bay Area is already under similar shelter in place orders prohibiting the operation of non-essential businesses subject to a few delineated exceptions. And as recently explained here, Oak Park, Illinois is also subject to a fairly broad shelter in place order, which may be a harbinger of things to come for the entire Chicago metropolitan area (or potentially all of Illinois). Importantly, late on March 19, the City of Los Angeles issued the Safer at Home Order, containing similar closures of non-essential businesses. A short time later, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a state-wide shelter in place order. These orders will be the subject of a forthcoming update from our Coronavirus Task Force.

In the coming days, we expect several additional similar orders. We also expect that such orders will track those previously issued (including those issued in California, Oak Park, and Miami-Dade). In this time of uncertainty businesses/employers must keep abreast of these orders and consult with their attorneys and professional service providers so they can act quickly to address the serious business obstacles posed by the COVID-19 epidemic.

Visit our Coronavirus Resource Center for answers to many key questions businesses/employers face in this time of uncertainty.