How will Florida's 'stay at home' order be enforced?

'We'd rather not get to there,' Palm Beach County state attorney says
Posted at 9:45 PM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 08:55:10-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A "stay at home" order has been issued for the entire state of Florida.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said the order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday. But there are some questions that remain, including just how it will be enforced.

"At this point, I think even a lot of places in Florida have very low infection rates. It makes sense to make this move now," DeSantis said.

The governor has now adopted new rules that only allow for a handful of essential activities like gas, groceries and some recreation.

"This is another 30 days situation, and you just have to do what makes the most sense," he said.

When it comes to enforcement, State Attorney Dave Aronberg said law enforcement is taking the right approach.

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"Law enforcement will try to ask each person what they're doing there and if it's going to shopping or somewhere, they will work with that person to try to make sure they comply with the order without first arresting them or charging them," he said.

Aronberg said the orders are enforceable by 60 days in the county jail, because it's a second-degree misdemeanor.

"Yes, we have the power to make an arrest and to charge people with a crime for violating it, but we'd rather not get to there," he said. "We'd rather people voluntarily comply with it and that way it's neighbor watching over neighbor and making sure this is the safest our community can be."

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WPTV NewsChannel 5 contacted multiple area law enforcement agencies.

A spokeswoman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said "they are consulting their attorneys."

Boca Raton police said the new order is essentially what the department has been enforcing for some time.

In Delray Beach, police are concerned the order does not have a lot of teeth to it. But police are encouraging people to continue social distancing.