Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order on Tuesday, extending Florida’s state of emergency an additional 60 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under Executive Order 21-94, the Governor is allowed to activate the state’s emergency operations center and deploy National Guard troops if necessary. The order also allows the Sunshine State to receive millions in federal funding to help curb the spread of the virus, and gives local and state agencies the power to implement mask mandates and other coronavirus restrictions. A state of emergency is broader than a public health emergency.
The Governor’s extension came hours ahead of the 4:45 p.m. deadline, with the governor’s office citing a “continuing threat to the health, safety and welfare of the State of Florida and its residents.”
DeSantis first declared a state of emergency on March 9, 2020 and has been extending the order in 60-day increments since it was first signed last year. Today marks the seventh time DeSantis has extended the order.
On Monday, the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) reported 3,513 new known cases of COVID-19 in the state and 66 new deaths related to the pandemic. Since the first cases were reported, a total of 2,212,097 cases have been recorded in the state. Florida ranks 23rd in cases per 100,000 and 28th in deaths per 100,000.
According to the latest vaccine report, nearly 5.8 million people statewide – 5,798,487 – have completed one of the three series of vaccinations. An additional 8.5 million people – 8,562,544 – have received at least one dose of the vaccines.
The new order, however, could be the last issued by DeSantis, as Section 3 of the order signaled an end to extensions.
“As Florida continues to realize a manageable trend in COVID-19 cases, over 8.5 million vaccinated individuals, a 4.7 % unemployment rate well under the national average, and state revenues improving significantly from worst-case projections during the pandemic, gaining $4.1 billion additional projected revenue over three fiscal years from the August 2020 estimate, the state should prepare to resume non-emergency operations.”