Yesterday, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order No. 20-91 (which the Governor amended later the same day for clarification). Section 1.B of Executive Order 20-91 provides “all persons in Florida shall limit their movements and personal interactions outside of their home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities.”

What are essential services?

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to describe in general terms what an “essential service” is. Of course, if you own a business, you consider your business’s service or product essential, otherwise you wouldn’t be in business to begin with! Personal feelings aside, however, it’s important to understand how the State of Florida defines “essential services.”

According to Section 2.A of Executive Order 20-91, “essential services” means those services identified by the Department of Homeland Security as falling into one of the following categories: healthcare/public health; law enforcement, public safety, and other first responders; food and agriculture; energy; water and wastewater; transportation and logistics; public works and infrastructure support services; communications and information technology; other community- or government-based operations and essential functions; critical manufacturing; hazardous materials; financial services; chemical; defense industrial base; commercial facilities; residential/shelter facilities and services; and hygiene products and services.

Those are broad categories and it’s important to look at the specific description in each category identified by the DHS in the “Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience In COVID-19 Response Version 2.0 (March 28, 2020)” publication.

The Department of Homeland Security Guidance requires some interpretation, however. Fortunately, Section 2.B of Executive Order 20-91 says “Essential services also include those businesses and activities designated by Executive Order 20-89 and its attachment which consists of a list propounded by Miami-Dade County in multiple orders.“

Thank goodness—a good, old-fashioned list:

  1. Healthcare providers, including, but not limited to, hospitals, doctors’ and dentists’ offices, urgent care centers, clinics, rehabilitation facilities, physical therapists, mental health professionals, psychiatrists, therapists, and pharmacies;
  2. Grocery stores, farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). This authorization includes stores that sell groceries and also sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residences;
  3. Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing;
  4. Businesses that provide food, shelter, social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals;
  5. Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;
  6. Gas stations; new and used automobile dealerships; and auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities, provided however that such businesses should ensure that customers practice the social distancing as advised by the CDC;
  7. Banks and related financial institutions;
  8. Hardware stores;
  9. Contractors and other tradesmen, appliance repair personnel, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and other structures;
  10. Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;
  11. Private colleges, trade schools, and technical colleges, but only as needed to facilitate online or distance learning and university. college. or technical college residence halls, to the extent needed to accommodate students who cannot return to their homes;
  12. Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers;
  13. Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but subject to the limitations and requirements of Emergency Order 3-20. Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and takeaway basis only. Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not permit the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided, or at any other gathering site;
  14. Businesses that supply office products needed for people to work from home;
  15. Businesses that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate, and which do not interact with the general public;
  16. Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods, or services directly to residences;
  17. Airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers providing transportation services via automobile, truck, bus, or train;
  18. Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children;
  19. Assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and adult day care centers, and senior residential facilities;
  20. Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities;
  21. Landscape and pool care businesses, including residential landscape and pool care services;
  22. Childcare facilities providing services that enable employees exempted in this Order [Miami-Dade County Emergency Order 7-20] to work as permitted. To the extent possible, childcare facilities should operate under the following mandatory conditions:
    1. Childcare must be carried out in stable groups of 10 or fewer (inclusive of childcare providers for the group).
    2. Children and child care providers shall not change from one group to another.
    3. lf more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group shall be in a separate room. Groups shall not mix or interact with each other.
  23. Businesses operating at any airport, seaport, or other government facility, including parks and government offices;
  24. Pet Supply Stores;
  25. Logistics providers, including warehouses, trucking, consolidators, fumigators, and handlers;
  26. Telecommunications providers, including sales of computer or telecommunications devices and the provision of home telecommunications;
  27. Provision of propane or natural gas;
  28. Office space and administrative support necessary to perform any of the above listed activities;
  29. Open construction sites, irrespective of the type of building;
  30. Architectural, engineering, or land surveying services;
  31. Factories, manufacturing facilities, bottling plants, or other industrial uses;
  32. Waste management services, including collection and disposal of waste;
  33. Any business that is interacting with customers solely through electronic or telephonic means, and delivering products via mailing, shipping, or delivery services;
  34. Marinas, boat launches, docking, fueling, marine supply and other marina services only as set forth in Emergency Order 06-20 as amended from time to time;
  35. Hotels, motels, other commercial lodging establishments and temporary vacation rentals. Notwithstanding the foregoing. restaurants. bars, and fitness center restrictions within these establishments remain as stated in Emergency Order 03-20;
  36. Veterinarians and pet boarding facilities;
  37. Mortuaries, funeral homes, and cemeteries;
  38. The sale of alcoholic beverages is authorized consistent with Executive Order 20-71;
  39. Firearm and ammunition supply stores; and
  40. Businesses providing services to any local, state, or Federal government, including municipalities, pursuant to a contract with such government.

This blog is only a summary—read the actual text of Executive Order 20-91, as amended, and all related attachments.  Also, it’s important to keep in mind that the definitions change, so you will need to review new Executive Orders as they come down from the Governor.

If we can assist your business in these troubling times, please contact me at