Florida Food Policy Council

L E A D I N G  F L O R I D A  F O O D

Policy Snapshot

What's the scoop on food policy? Check our snapshots each month to see a localized challenge or success in the state of Florida!

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  • 9 Feb 2021 5:26 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    Over the last month, there has been much local policy movement. FDACS has released the Biden-Harris Administration Partnership Plan “Keeping Florida & America Growing,” and the agricultural legislation Farm Operations (SB 88) and the Fair Repair of AG Equipment Bill (SB 374) are moving through committees quickly. Below are some of the latest developments in food policy that we have been following.

    Suwannee River Water Management District to Make Decision on Ginnie Springs Bottling Permit

    Seven Springs, a company contracted by multinational corporation Nestlé, will soon know if it will be granted a permit to take nearly one million gallons of water a day from Ginnie Springs in Florida. A special meeting has been scheduled by the Suwannee River Water Management District Board to make a decision. The meeting will be held on February 23rd at 9 a.m. in the Suwannee River Fair pavilion. Public comment may be submitted until February 22nd or voiced in person during the meeting.

    More information can be found here.

    City of St. Petersburg Approves Allendale UMC as a Space for Vegetable Gardens

    On February 3rd, Allendale United Methodist Church sought and received approval from the Development Review Commission of the City of St. Petersburg for a special exception modification to add two raised garden beds on the property to grow vegetables. Some neighbors within the Allendale community had been against the raised garden beds, while some argued they weren’t against the gardens themselves, but rather the appearance. 

    More information can be found here.

    Read the minutes for the Commission meeting here. 


    Commissioner Fried releases FDACS and Biden-Harris Administration Partnership Plan

    On February 2nd, Commissioner Nikki Fried released the “Keeping Florida & America Growing” Federal Partnership Plan between the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Biden-Harris Administration. The 30-page plan developed with input from the department’s 19 divisions, details state and federal policies and initiatives that would promote Florida’s farmers and American-grown crops, protect consumers from fraud, improve water quality and conservation, modernize cannabis policy, advance renewable energy and energy efficiency, help children and families access nutrition and fight hunger, strengthen rural communities, expand voting rights, and improve diversity, equity and inclusion across government and society.

    Read the full plan here.

    More information can be found on the FDACS website.

    Legislation to Modernize Florida's Right to Farm Protections (SB 88) Passes First Committee 

    On January 25th, Senator Jason Brodeur filed SB 88, Farm Operations, which would expand protections available under Florida’s Right to Farm Act. The bill would prevent a plaintiff from recasting a lawsuit as a negligence suit or another type of suit as a means of circumventing the legal protections for farming in the Right to Farm Act, and require a plaintiff to prove by clear and convincing evidence that a farming activity does not comply with state and federal environmental laws, regulations, or best management practices. The legislation also limits plaintiffs who may bring a nuisance lawsuit based on a farming activity to those located within one-half mile of the activity and limits damage awards to the market value of any property harmed by the nuisance. Unsuccessful plaintiffs would be required to pay the defendant farm’s attorney fees and costs in the limited circumstances that the lawsuit was based on a farming activity complying with environmental laws and agricultural management practices. Additionally, the bill adds agritourism to the definition of farm operation. On February 1st, the bill passed the Senate Committee on Judiciary.

    Full text of the legislation can be found here.

    Fair Repair of AG Equipment Bill (SB 374) Passes Florida’s Senate Agriculture Committee

    On December 22nd, Senator Jennifer Bradley filed SB 374, Fair Repair of AG Equipment. The bill would require original equipment manufacturers of agricultural equipment to provide certain manufacturing, diagnostic, and repair information to independent repair providers and owners and prohibit the original equipment manufacturers from excluding certain information concerning security-related functions. On January 27th, the bill unanimously passed the Senate Agriculture Committee. Representative Joe Harding filed twin bill HB 511 in the House.

    Full text of the SB 374 can be found here.

    Full text of the HB 511 can be found here.

    Civil Liability for Damages Relating to COVID-19 (SB 72) Moves to Florida’s Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee

    On January 6th, Senator Jeff Brandes filed SB 72, Civil Liability for Damages Relating to COVID-19. The bill provides civil immunity from COVID-19 liability to businesses, educational institutions, religious institutions, governmental entities, and other covered entities that acted in good faith during the COVID-19 pandemic. If passed, the measure would require a court to dismiss without prejudice any lawsuit bringing a COVID-19 claim if the complaint is not pled with particularity or if the person filing the lawsuit fails to provide an affidavit of a physician attesting that the defendant caused the plaintiff's injuries or damages. The bill also provides a statute of limitations, severability and retroactive applicability. On January 25, the bill passed the Senate Committee on Judiciary and is now in Commerce and Tourism. A twin bill, HB 7, Civil Liability for Damages Relating to COVID-19, was introduced into the Florida House of Representatives by Representative Lawrence McClure.

    Full text of SB 72 can be found here.

    Full text of HB 7 can be found here. 


    The National Climate Emergency Act” Unveiled by Senator Sanders and Representatives Ocasio-Cortez and Blumenauer

    On February 4th, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), introduced legislation mandating the declaration of a national climate emergency. “The National Climate Emergency Act” directs the President of the United States to declare a national climate emergency and mobilize every resource at the country’s disposal to halt, reverse, mitigate, and prepare for the consequences of this climate crisis.

    More information can be found here. 

    Full text of the legislation is available here.


  • 8 Jan 2021 11:58 AM | Administrator (Administrator)

    Inside the Florida State Capitol Building

    It’s a new year! The Florida legislature, set to convene for the regular session on March 2nd, has finalized committee appointments and is preparing to attend interim sessions next week. Over the last month, we have seen legislation put forward to protect businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits in Florida, the release of new national dietary guidelinesand more support for local farmers from the USDA. In our latest policy snapshot, here is here is some of the local and national food-related policy movement you need to know about. 

    Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls Pledges Support for  Legislation to Protect Florida Businesses and Nonprofits from Frivolous COVID-19 Lawsuits 

    On the first day of the House’s first interim committee meeting week, the Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee will take up HB 7 for a vote during its 4 p.m. meeting on January 13th in Webster Hall (212 Knott) at the Florida Capitol. While HB 7 focuses on businesses and nonprofits, the Florida House will separately address COVID liability protections for health care providers and facilities, including nursing homes and long-term care facilities, in the Health & Human Services Committee siloSenator Jeff Brandes filed an identical Senate Bill SB 72 

    More information can be found here.

    USDA Announces Continuation of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, Fifth Round of Food Purchases 

    On January 4th, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it will purchase an additional $1.5 billion worth of food for nationwide distribution through the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. The additional funding for the program was included in the COVID-19 relief package as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act passed December 21, 2020. In this fifth round of purchases, USDA will again purchase combination boxes to ensure all involved recipient organizations have access to fresh produce, dairy products, fluid milk and meat products, and seafood products will also be included in this round. 

    More information can be found here 


    USDA and HHS Release New Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 

    On December 29ththe U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health & Human Services released the new dietary guidelines: “Make Every Bite Count.” The guidelines will be the basis for national health objectives, food assistance and meal programs and nutrition education efforts until the next edition of the guidelines comes out in 2025. 

    More information about the guidelines can be found here.

    USDA Declares Secretarial Disaster Declaration for Florida’s Leon, Gadsden Counties 

    On December 22ndthe U.S. Department of Agriculture declared a Secretarial Disaster Declaration for a number of counties in the Florida panhandle, including Leon County and Gadsden County. As a result of the declaration, access to Farm Service Agency disaster loans for agriculture producers is now be available. Farmers in the designated counties have eight months from the designation date to apply for emergency loans. 

    More information about the USDA Disaster Designation Information Site can be found here.


    USDA, EPA and FDA Continue Joint Food Loss and Waste Reduction Efforts  

    On December 17th, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the renewal of the joint agency formal agreement  including the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative. The agreement reaffirms the agencies’ commitment to improve coordination and communication efforts to better educate Americans on the impacts and importance of reducing food loss and waste. Food loss and waste negatively impact food security, the economy, communities, and the environment. 

    More information can be found here.

    Florida Wildlife Officials Shut Down Wild-oyster Harvesting in Apalachicola Bay through 2025 

    On December 16thFlorida wildlife authorities voted to suspend wild oyster harvesting in Apalachicola Bay through the end of 2025. Wild oyster harvesting had been suspended in the area since August, after an emergency executive order was put into place. To aid in this effort, the FWC also announced a $20 million grant to help conduct large-scale oyster habitat restoration from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Gulf Environmental Benefits Fund, which receives money from a settlement with BP and Transocean over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. The closure will not apply to oyster aquaculture operations. 

    More information can be found here.

    Florida Senate Committees for 2020-2022 Have Been Assigned 

    On December 3rd, Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson released the composition of Senate Committees for the 2020-2022 session. The Florida Legislative Session begins March 2nd, 2021. 

    Review the Senate committee assignments here

  • 8 Dec 2020 1:04 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    St. Petersburg council meeting on December 3rd.

    In the recent months, there has been transformation in some local and national food policies. From St. Petersburg passing a new urban agriculture ordinance to funding for regional food systems and community resiliency work in East Central Florida, below are some of the latest developments in food policy. 

    St. Petersburg Unanimously Passes Urban Agriculture Ordinance  

    On December 3rd, St. Petersburg city council members unanimously passed the LDR 2020-05 ordinance which will expand opportunities for the production and sale of locally grown produce, a move that will help address the issue of food insecurity in the city while providing economic benefits for residents interested in growing and selling their own food. 

    The ordinance, which amends the city’s land development regulations, will go back before city council for a second reading in January. Key elements include:  

    • Eliminating the not-for-profit requirements for community gardens and extending the initial permit period. 

    • Lowering the cost of community garden permits and roadside vending market permits from $100 to $50, with renewal applications dropping from $50 to $10. 

    • Allowing commercial gardens and greenhouses as permitted uses, rather than special exceptions, in industrial traditional and industrial suburban zones. 

    • Allowing sales of produce grown onsite on residential properties in single-family and multi-family districts. That includes value-added and honeybee products. Home produce sales would be allowed up to 36 events per year. 

    • Allowing garden-related structures, including hoop houses, cold frames, greenhouses and vertical structures. 

    • Allowing produce sales from vehicles and on vacant non-residential property city-wide. 

    More information can be found hereView the full ordinance here.

    East Central Florida Regional Planning Council Awarded Funds to Support Regional Food Systems and Community Resiliency Work 

    The ECFRPC was awarded almost $75K in CPAT grants to support its regional food systems and community resiliency work. The Council was granted $40,000 to develop the East Central Florida Food Resiliency Action Plan for a more resilient local, county and regional food system and $34,000 to create a Strategic Resilience Action Plan for the recently established East Central Florida Regional Resilience Collaborative. Thanks to the program, ECFRPC staff will also be working with the cities of Sanford and Winter Springs. 

    More information can be found here.

    U.S. Department of Labor Announces New Regulation that Changes Foreign Farm Workers’ Wage-Rate Protections 

    On Tuesday, November 2nd, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new regulation under the H-2A agricultural guestworker program that will change the main wage-rate protection for U.S. and foreign workers at agricultural employers that use the H-2A temporary foreign agricultural worker program. From 2021 through 2022, DOL will freeze minimum wages for over 200,000 seasonal farmworkers participating in the H-2A visa program at current levels, which were set at the end of 2019. Starting in 2023, it will then peg future wage increases to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment cost index, which DOL says will raise wages at a lower rate than under current methodology. Previously, the agency adjusted these rates every year to reflect pay fluctuations in the farm labor market. Experts believe that this new move will effectively result in a pay decrease. 

    View the final rule here. 

    US Agricultural Alliance Releases Transformative Climate Policy Recommendations 

    On November 18th, an alliance of groups representing farmers, forest owners, the food sector, state governments and environmental advocates today unveiled an unprecedented set of recommendations to guide the development of federal climate policy. The group developed more than 40 recommendations based on three principles: agricultural and forestry climate policies must be built upon voluntary, incentive-based programs and market-driven opportunities; they must promote resilience and adaptation in rural communities; and they must be science-based. 

    Read the full recommendations here.

    Justice for Black Farmers Act Introduced to Congress  

    On November 19th, the Justice for Black Farmers Act was introduced to Congress by U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). The bill is aimed at addressing and correcting historic discrimination within the U.S. Department of Agriculture in federal farm assistance and lending that has caused Black farmers to lose millions of acres of farmland and robbed Black farmers and their families of hundreds of billions of dollars of inter-generational wealth. 

    More information can be found here.

    First Black Chairman of House Ag Will Fight Climate Change, Rural-Urban Split  

    On December 3rd, Representative David Scott of Georgia defeated a California rival in a vote among majority-party Democrats on Thursday to become the first Black chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. Scott, who represents a suburban Atlanta district with 313 farms, pledged to tackle an array of issues, most prominently climate change and the rural-urban split, in the new session of Congress opening on Jan. 3rd. With Scott’s election, three of the “four corners” of food and ag policy in Congress will be leading the House and Senate Agriculture committees for the first time. 

    More information can be found here. 

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Proposes New Restrictions on Chlorpyrifos 

    On December 4th, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new restrictions on chlorpyrifos, an insecticide used for a large variety of agricultural and non-agricultural uses. EPA is proposing: label amendments limiting application to address potential drinking water risks of concern; additional personal protection equipment and application restrictions to address potential occupational handler risks of concern; and spray drift mitigation, in combination with the use limitations and application restrictions identified to address drinking water and occupational risks, to reduce exposure to non-target organisms.  

    More information can be found here.

  • 11 Nov 2020 12:44 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    From free statewide COVID-19 testing sites for farmworkers to the opening of new coronavirus food assistance programs for livestock producers, here are some of the latest updates developments in food policy we have seen. 

    FDACS Announces No-cost COVID-19 Testing Events for Farmworkers in Some of Florida’s Top Agricultural Counties 

    The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) announced additional COVID-19 testing sites in Miami-Dade, Hendry, and St. Lucie County for farmworkers as the fall harvest season begins. The ongoing efforts to provide access to testing for farmworkers is part of a partnership with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM), and local county governments. 

    More information can be found here.

    Florida Gulf Coast and UF “Zoom-In” on COVID-19  

    A “team” of researchers from Florida Gulf Coast University’s Lutgert College of Business (FGCU/LCOB) and the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) will present the preliminary findings of their 6-month study of the challenges that the Coronavirus pandemic placed on Florida’s food producers and distributors.  

    These findings are the focus of FGCU’s 2nd Annual Agricultural Forum, an event hosted by the Center for Agribusiness within the Lutgert College of Business.  The Forum will “kick-off” Farm-City Week – November 18-25.  

    FGCU’s 2020 AG Forum, scheduled on November 18, 2020 beginning at 8:30 a.m., will be conducted virtually as a ZOOM meeting and will summarize dozens of personal 1-hour interviews with key producers and distributors throughout Florida’s agribusiness supply chain. 

    More information can be found here.

    Feeding America Releases Research on The Impact of Coronavirus on Food Insecurity 

    In this brief, initial projections of how food insecurity may increase in 2020 have been revised, using updated assumptions about projected unemployment and poverty rates. Combining analyses at the national, state, county, and congressional district levels, we show how the number of people who are food insecure in 2020 could rise to more than 50 million, including 17 million children. 

    More information can be found here.

    Producers in Okaloosa and Walton counties are now eligible for USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Disaster Loans 

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designated Okaloosa and Walton counties as primary and Bay, Holmes, Santa Rosa, and Washington counties as secondary disaster areas. Producers in these counties are now eligible for USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) disaster loans in addition to producers in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties who were previously eligible. Commissioner Nikki Fried is encouraging all eligible producers in need of financial assistance to apply immediately. 

    More information can be found here.

    USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 for Livestock Producers 

    What do beef cattle, buffalo and alpaca all have in common? They are all eligible for USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2). If you commercially raise animals for food, fur, fiber, or feathers, you may be eligible for assistance. Check to see if you raise eligible livestock through our Eligible Commodities Finder on farmers.gov/cfapUSDA’s Farm Service Agency will accept CFAP 2 applications through December 11, 2020. 

    Learn more at farmers.gov/cfap or call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. 

    Environment Protection Agency Seeks Public Comment on a Draft Pesticide Registration Notice 

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the availability of and seeking public comment on a draft Pesticide Registration Notice (PR Notice) entitled, “Draft List of Pests of Significant Public Health Importance—Revised 2020.” Comments must be received on or before January 4, 2021. 

    More information can be found here.


    Environment Protection Agency Announces Final Rule for Pesticide Tolerances: Trinexapac-ethyl 

    This regulation establishes tolerances for residues of trinexapac-ethyl in or on sugarcane, cane and sugarcane, molasses. Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC requested these tolerances under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). This regulation is effective November 4, 2020. Objections and requests for hearings must be received on or before January 4, 2021 

    More information can be found here.

    Food and Drug Administration Seeks Public Comment on the Proposed Collection of Certain Information by the Agency 

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Federal Agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension of an existing collection of information, and to allow 60 days for public comment in response to the notice. This notice solicits comments on the reporting and recordkeeping requirements of our regulations implementing the Federal Import Milk Act (FIMA). Submit either electronic or written comments on the collection of information by January 4, 2021. 

    More information can be found here. 

    Food and Nutrition Service is Issues Final Rule on SNAP P-EBT

    The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) an agency of the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing a final rule to add regulations that will ensure the integrity of the supplemental allotments created by Section 1101 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), as amended by the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act (CR) for households with children who would have otherwise received free or reduced price school meals under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, but for school closures or reduction in the number of days or hours that students attend school in response to the ongoing and national Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency. Such allotments are referred to as Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) benefits. This final rule was effective on November 4, 2020. 

    More information can be found here.

  • 5 Oct 2020 1:00 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    From Florida moving to Phase 3 of Governor Ron DeSantis’ reopening plan to barely avoiding a government shutdown with a stopgap funding measure, a number of changes have taken place in Florida and around the nation. In our latest policy snapshot, we have put together the top food-related policy and legislation movement that you need to know about.

    Florida Moves to Phase 3 of Recovery

    On September 25th, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-244, moving all 67 counties into Phase 3 of the Safe, Smart, Step-by-Step Plan for Florida's Recovery. The order does the following: removes state-level restrictions on restaurants, provides that no COVID-19 emergency ordinance may prevent an individual from working or operating a business, provides that restaurants may not be limited by a COVID-19 emergency order by any local government to less than 50% of their indoor capacity; and states that if a restaurant is limited to less than 100% of its indoor capacity, such COVID-19 emergency order must quantify the economic impact of each limitation or requirements on those restaurants and explain why each limitation or requirement is necessary for public health. The order also suspends all outstanding fines and penalties, and the collection of such, applied against individuals related to COVID-19.

    Commissioners Nikki Fried & Daniella Levine Cava Hold Agriculture & Food Insecurity Roundtable

    On September 17th, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava hosted a roundtable discussion on agriculture and chronic hunger in South Florida. The discussion brought together agriculture producers, food distributors, and others to discuss COVID-19’s impact on food production and food insecurity. Fried and Levine Cava were joined at Florida International University’s Biscayne Bay campus by Mark B. Rosenberg, President of FIU; Paco Velez, CEO of Feeding South Florida; Stephen Shelley, CEO of Farm Share; Justin Dunlap, Co-Founder and President of United Farmers Alliance; Anthony Olivieri, Founder of FHEED, a community food systems planning consultancy; Debra Iglesias, Founder and CEO of The Garden Network, a collaborative of organic farmers; Joanna Berens, President of Joanna Berens Hospitality, a hospitality industry consultancy; and Ginue Baptist, Program Administrator at Curley’s House Hope Relief Food Bank.

    President Signs Stopgap Funding Measure to Avoid Government Shutdown

    On October 1st, the President signed a bipartisan continuing resolution (HR 8337) to extend federal government funding through December 11th. The bill provides as much as $30 billion for the Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corp., which the administration has used to send virus relief payments to farmers. The legislation also includes nearly $8 billion for vital nutrition assistance. It also extends and expands the Pandemic EBT program, which provides resources to families with children who otherwise would have received free or reduced-price meals at school, and extends several other key flexibilities for nutrition programs.

    House Passes Updated Heroes Act

    On October 1st, the House passed an updated version of The Heroes Act, addressing needs that have developed since the House passed an earlier iteration of the bill. The updated legislation includes:

    • Support for small businesses by improving the Paycheck Protection Program which serves small businesses and struggling non-profits, and delivers targeted assistance for the struggling restaurant industry;
    • More funds to bolster education and child care, with $225 billion for education – including $182 billion for K-12 schools and nearly $39 billion for postsecondary education – and $57 billion to support child care for families;
    • Additional direct payments of $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 per dependent;
    • Protections for payrolls by enhancing the new employee retention tax credit;
    • Worker safety insurances by requiring OSHA to issue a strong, enforceable standard within seven days to require all workplaces to develop and implement infection control plans based on CDC expertise;
    • Reinstatement of unemployment benefits, ensuring weekly $600 federal unemployment payments through January 2021 and preventing unemployed workers from exhausting their eligibility; and
    • Strengthens food security by addressing rising hunger with a 15 percent increase to the maximum SNAP benefit and additional funding for nutrition programs as well as targeted support for farmers and producers impacted by the crisis.

    USDA and FDA Sign Memorandum of Understanding to Enhance Collaboration, Efficiency on U.S. Dairy Exports

    On October 1st, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining strengthened coordination between the FDA and the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) to facilitate the export of milk and milk products from the United States. U.S. dairy exports are valued at nearly $6 billion annually.

    FDA Proposes Establishing Additional Traceability and Recordkeeping Requirements

    On September 21st, the FDA released a proposal to establish additional traceability recordkeeping requirements (beyond what is already required in existing regulations) for persons who manufacture, process, pack, or hold foods the Agency has designated for inclusion on the Food Traceability List. The proposed rule, “Requirements for Additional Traceability Records for Certain Foods” (Food Traceability Proposed Rule) is a key component of the FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint and would implement Section 204(d) of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The proposed rule will be available for public comment until January 21st on the Federal Register here.

    USDA Extends WIC COVID-19 Flexibilities for Duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

    On September 21st, The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the extension of more than a dozen flexibilities ensuring participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) continue receiving the food and health support they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The WIC waivers being extended allow for: participants to be approved for WIC without being physically present in a local office, remote issuance of benefits to any participant, flexibility in food package requirements, including dairy, grains, vegetables, and infant foods, and additional options for pick-up of food packages.

    Farm System Reform Act Awaits Movement in Both Congressional Chambers

    In December, 2019, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) originally introduced the Farm System Reform Act (FSRA) in the senate. In May, 2020, Representative Ro Khanna (CA-17) announced the introduction of a House of Representatives companion bill for the FSRA. The legislation would: hold meat companies responsible for harm caused by the factory farms that raise their animals, provide a $100 Billion voluntary buyout program for contract farmers who want to transition away from factory farms, strengthen the Packers & Stockyards Act to protect family farmers and ranchers, restore mandatory Country of Origin Labeling, prohibit the USDA from labeling foreign imported meat products as “Product of USA,” and put a “pause” on the construction of new or expanding large factory farms while also initiating a phaseout of existing large factory farms by 2040. Both bills are still in the first stage of the legislative process.

    FLFPC will continue to monitor policy and legislation as the next few months are sure to bring big changes.

  • 7 Sep 2020 5:17 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    From extended free school meals to increased funding for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program to new legislation that would help strengthen local regional food systems, a lot has happened in the past few months. Below is a snapshot of some of the most important Federal policy movement we have seen.

    Senate Republicans Set to Vote on "Skinny" Relief Bill

    Introduced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in May the House passed the $3 trillion HEROES Acta broad sweeping bill targeting several issues brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Amid a deadlock in Congress when it comes to reaching a compromise on the relief package, it has been more than 4 months since any action was taken on the bill. This week, however, Senate Republicans are set to vote on and pass a "skinny" version of the bill. Yet, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier this month that he's skeptical Congress members will be able to reach across the political aisle for a compromise before November

    USDA Extends Free Meals for Kids Through December 31, 2020

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it will extend policies to ensure more hungry kids have access to free meals during the school campus closures, through December 31st, "or until available funding runs out." The flexibilities allow summer meal program operators to continue serving free meals to all children into the fall months. The agency says this will help to ensure that no matter what the situation is on-the-ground, children will have access to nutritious food as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    Third Round of Farmers to Families Food Box Program Begins

    The third round of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program began on September 1st and will conclude by October 31st, 2020. Until now, the program has distributed more than 75 million food boxes according to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. In this third round of purchases, USDA plans to purchase combination boxes to ensure all recipient organizations have access to fresh produce, dairy products, fluid milk, and meat products. Eligibility in the third round will be open to entities who can meet the government’s requirements and specifications. Proposals will be expected to illustrate how coverage will be provided to areas identified as opportunity zones, detail subcontracting agreements, and address the “last mile” delivery of product into the hands of the food insecure population.

    Federal Agencies Outline Plan to Help Farmers of Seasonal and Perishable Fruits and Vegetables

    Following public hearings held in August where more than 60 witnesses from Florida and Georgia testified, in addition to over 300 written submissions, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Commerce released a report outlining the Trump Administration’s plan to address the threat posed by increased foreign imports to American producers of seasonal and perishable fruits and vegetables.

    The report released the following plan:

    1. USTR will request the International Trade Commission to initiate a Section 201 global safeguard investigation into the extent to which increased imports of blueberries have caused serious injury to domestic blueberry growers.
    2. USTR will pursue senior-level government-to-government discussions with Mexico over the next 90 days to address U.S. industry concerns regarding U.S. imports of Mexican strawberries, bell peppers, and other seasonal and perishable products.
    3. USTR will work with domestic producers to commence an investigation by the International Trade Commission to monitor and investigate imports of strawberries and bell peppers, which could enable an expedited Section 201 global safeguard investigation later this year.
    4. The Department of Commerce will establish an outreach program to connect with Southeastern growers about applicable trade remedy laws and establish a formal channel for stakeholders to provide information related to unfair subsidies for foreign producers and exporters of seasonal and perishable fruits and vegetables, including those in Mexico.
    5. The Department of Agriculture will increase targeted outreach to producers of seasonal and perishable fruits and vegetables, develop a promotion strategy for domestically produced produce, and initiate conversations with relevant federal partners to better understand the extent to which imports of seasonal and perishable products are utilized to enable criminal activity.
    6. USTR, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Agriculture will establish an interagency working group to monitor seasonal and perishable fruit and vegetable products, coordinate as appropriate regarding future investigations and trade actions, and provide technical assistance to Members of Congress in developing legislation on this issue.

    Farmers and Ranchers Deliver Letter to the House Select Committee on Climate Crisis

    On August 27th, a letter signed by 2,130 farmers and ranchers from across the country was delivered to the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, urging Congress to support and invest in farming and rural communities to address the climate crisis. The House Select Committee had previously released an action plan on June 30th that lays out steps for Congress to take to put the country on a path to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The report centers around 12 key pillars, including investing in clean energy infrastructure, transforming domestic manufacturing of clean energy technology, investing in workers and a fair economy, advancing environmental justice, protecting and restoring U.S. natural resources, and promoting climate-resilient agriculture. As Congress considers comprehensive climate legislation, farmers and ranchers eagerly await to see how policymakers will increase support and build resilience to climate stresses. 

    Florida Representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell Introduces the Safe Considerations of the Health of Our Learning Students Act

    On August 27, 2020, House Representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL-26) introduced the Safe Considerations of the Health of Our Learning Students Act or “SCHOOLS” Act, new legislation that would provide schools with the health guidance, funding, and resources needed to safely reopen K-12 schools when health conditions allow. The bill calls for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct a study on COVID-19’s impact on children and issue updated guidance on the issues involving public attendance, such as classroom spacing, mask use, transportation, meals and physical recreation. As South Florida schools consider starting in-person classes, Mucarsel-Powell gathered a group of experts to discuss this critical legislation and the implications for students, teachers, and parents. A recording of the press conference introducing the bill can be found here.

    Representative Alma Adams Introduces the Local and Regional Farmer and Market Support Act

    On August 26, 2020, House Representative Alma Adams (D-NC) introduced the Local and Regional Farmer and Market Support Act (Local Farmer Act) H.R. 8096 to provide meaningful support to farmers, ranchers, and critical local and regional food systems businesses. Although the USDA's Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) has distributed billions in aid, the program has left out thousands of producers, including farmers and ranchers who market locally, regionally or direct to consumers and especially Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) producers. CFAP payments are based on national, wholesale prices that do not always reflect the real value of crops sold by farmers directly to the customers. The Local and Regional Farmer and Market Support Act (Local Farmer Act) would address this concern by providing direct payments to local and regional food producers based on their historic revenue, and help their local markets as they both cope with the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Senator Booker Introduces Legislation to Strengthen Food System in Response to COVID-19 Disruptions

    In July, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Local Food Assistance and Resilient Markets Act, or the Local FARM Act, legislation that expands food assistance to vulnerable Americans and increases support for the local and regional food systems that have proven most resilient during the COVID-19 crisis.

    The Local FARM Act includes five primary components:

    1) Creates Specialty Crop Block Grants;
    2) Expands the online Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
    3) Reduces matching requirements;
    4) Expands LAMP funding; 
    5) Expands farm microloans.

    In the upcoming months, Floridians and Americans across the country, will certainly be waiting to see what changes will come in response to the ongoing pandemic.

  • 9 Aug 2020 5:41 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    High unemployment rates, disparate health outcomes, and uncertainty regarding what school will be like in the fall, Americans continue to face public health and economic consequences as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the nation waits for Congress to vote on the next stimulus package, legislation that will help Americans continue to access food is a priority for many.

    Three of the most significant efforts the federal government has undertaken to address food insecurity amid the pandemic’s economic disruption to date include: the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) program, food stamp emergency allotments, and taking food stamp benefits online.

    In Florida, approval from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to launch a pilot project that allows families to purchase groceries online with their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card took effect in April. The following month, Governor Ron DeSantis announced federal approval for the implementation of Florida’s Pandemic EBT Program (P-EBT), a program that provides one-time food benefits to children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) but whose schools are closed due to the pandemic. 

    Although the State and Federal Government have followed through with a number of policy initiatives, as the school year begins, organizations and experts are calling for policy fixes that would help feed children and families through the crisis and beyond.

    According to Areeba Haider, a research assistant for the Poverty to Prosperity Program, to date, Congress has left more than 12 million individuals—including nearly 5 million children—out of enacted coronavirus relief legislation. She notes that although the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the first coronavirus relief package passed and enacted by Congress months ago, included an important investment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) aimed at stemming predicted increases in food insecurity, did boost benefits for some SNAP recipients, those who were already the poorest prior to the COVID-19 emergency and already receiving the maximum SNAP benefit did not and have not received any additional food assistance.

    In an effort to urge Congress to take action, a coalition of nearly 2,500 organizations called for a 15 percent increase in the maximum monthly SNAP benefit in June. This would mean that all SNAP recipients, including those already receiving the maximum benefit, would see an increase in assistance levels. 

    On August 4th, a new report was released by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) that ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia on participation in the Summer Nutrition Programs. The Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation: Summer Nutrition Status Report, which measures participation in Summer Nutrition Programs by comparing the number of children receiving summer meals to the number of low-income children receiving school lunch during the regular school year.

    The study found that increased investments in Summer Nutrition Programs, combined with the implementation of best practices, such as intensive outreach, site recruitment, and reducing barriers to participation, would help eliminate the nutrition and summer learning opportunity gaps for the millions of children facing food insecurity at unprecedented levels.

    “The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued nationwide summer waivers to ensure access to summer meals during the pandemic, such as waiving the 50 percent eligibility requirement. These waivers must continue through the upcoming school to allow communities to serve meals to low-income children during the pandemic. Congress should consider making some of the changes permanent to ensure access during normal summers, said FRAC President Luis Guardia.

    House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) went a step further by introducing legislation on July 30th to make all students eligible for free school meals (breakfast and lunch) during the 2020-2021 school year through the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), regardless of their geography or socioeconomic status.

    The Pandemic Child Hunger Prevention Act would allow all children to access breakfast, lunch, and after school snack programs either in school or through “grab and go” and delivery options. The proposal would also eliminate paperwork for families and school officials, who would not have to fill out and process applications during a time of crisis. 

    “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated our nation’s child hunger crisis, created record high unemployment, and caused prolonged economic hardship—leaving many families struggling to cover basic essentials,” said Chairman Scott. “The Pandemic Child Hunger Prevention Act would help address the child hunger crisis, make it easier for schools to operate school meal programs, and provide financial relief to school meal programs that have suffered heavy losses during the pandemic. This legislation will ensure that all children will have access to nutrition during this public health emergency.” 

    At a time when many Americans find themselves struggling to put food on the table, Americans are eagerly looking to Congress to offer some relief.

  • 6 Jul 2020 12:00 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    Voting is one of the most fundamental ways for citizens to enact change in their communities. Voting gives citizens the opportunity to select their public servants and wield long-lasting change in their communities through the constitutional amendments and referendums that often appear on ballots.  

    In March, Florida saw a 30% voter turnout for the Presidential Preference Primary election, much lower than the 46% seen four years before in 2016. Yet, during March’s primary the use of vote by mail surged to about 45% of the overall vote.

    With concerns over the coronavirus, many are turning to mail-in voting for the upcoming Primary and General Elections. In recent weeks, local elections supervisors across the state have been promoting this option as a safe alternative to in-person voting.

    Unlike some other states, Florida has a long history of using the mail for voting. Roughly 30 percent of the people who voted in the 2016 and 2018 general elections voted by mail in Florida.

    In fact, Florida’s amended law now provides more time for voters to cure rejected mail ballots. Elections officials are now required to try to reach the voter by phone, email, text message and mail to let them know if their ballot was rejected so they can try to cure the issue. The mail ballot envelope was modified to include spaces for voters to put their contact information.

    For the upcoming August 18th Primary Election and November 3rd General Elections, we have put together some helpful information on voter registration and how the process works.

    When are the upcoming elections? What is the difference between the Primary and General Election? 

    The primary election determines what candidate will represent that party in the general election. Winning a primary election does not equate to being elected to office. The general election is open to all registered voters, regardless of political affiliation, and determines who wins each of their respective races and who is elected to office.  

    Florida is a closed-primary state, meaning that only registered members of a major political party (Democratic Party or Republican Party) can participate in its primary elections. 

    The deadline to change party affiliation in the State of Florida is 29 days before an election. For the 2020 election cycle, the last day to change party affiliation before the primary election is July 20th, 2020. The last day to change party affiliation before the general election is October 5th, 2020. 

    Voting Registration Deadlines 

    Primary Election: July 20th, 2020 

    General Election: October 5th, 2020 

    Voting Dates 

    Primary Election: August 18th, 2020 

    General Election: November 3rd, 2020 

    Floridians can check their voter registration status here. 

    What will be on the ballot in the 2020 Election? 

    • All seats in the US House of Representatives and State House of Representatives are up for election. 
    • State Senators representing ODD numbered districts are up for election. 
    • Districts 1-5 Court of Appeals (Judges) 
    • Several Circuit Court Judges 
    • Special District Elections:  

    - Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority 

    - Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District 

    - Loxahatchee River Environmental Control District 

    - Mediterranean Community Development District 

    - Sebastian Inlet Tax District 

    - Tolomato Community Development District 

    The Florida Department of State has a database with the candidates for the 2020 election, which can be found here. 

    How do I register to vote?

    You can apply to register to vote in any of the following ways:  

    • Online at RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov.
    • In-person at a Florida driver's license office or tax collector's office that issues driver's licenses or Florida identification cards, or online through the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ online renewal system: GoRenew.com. 
    • At a voter registration agency: NVRA webpage. 
    • By mail you can send in the statewide voter registration application form which can be found at any county Supervisor of Elections office, local library and accessed here: English PDF / Español PDF (version 10/2013 pre-CS/SB 7066). 

    How do I vote by mail?

    Vote-by-mail refers to voting a ballot received by mail or picked up by or for a voter instead of going to the polls to vote during early voting period or Election Day. In Florida, the term “absentee ballot” was replaced by “vote-by-mail ballot” in state statutes in 2016 because it more accurately reflects the fact that Florida does not require voters to have an excuse (such as being absent) to vote by mail.

    Except on Election Day, no excuse is needed to vote a vote-by-mail ballot. Unless otherwise specified, a request to receive a vote-by-mail ballot covers all elections through the end of the calendar year for the second ensuing regularly scheduled general election. A vote-by-mail ballot that is returned undeliverable cancels a request for future elections and must be renewed. 

    Instructions are included with the vote-by-mail ballot. The voted ballot must be returned and received by the Supervisor of Elections no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day. Other return options are available for Military and Overseas Voters.

    If you register to vote by mail and later decide you would to vote at the polls you won’t be turned away at the polls. If you received your vote-by-mail ballot, you should return it, whether voted or not, to the poll workers on Election Day. Your vote-by-mail ballot will be voided and you will be allowed to vote a regular ballot at the polls. Even if you come to the polls without your vote-by-mail ballot, you will still be able to vote a regular ballot if the supervisor of elections' office is able to confirm that it has not received your vote-by-mail ballot. 

    How can I find out about my vote-by-mail ballot request ballot?

    Your vote-by-mail ballot request and ballot can be tracked online. Go to your county Supervisor of Elections' website or through the Division of Elections Voter Information Lookup to your county portal that will link you to your vote-by-mail ballot information.

    What about early voting? 

    By law, early voting must be held at least for 8 days. The mandatory early voting periods for 2020 are: 

    Primary Election: August 8 – 15 

    General Election: October 24 – 31 

    Each county Supervisor of Elections may offer more days of early voting from one or more of the following days: 

    Primary Election: August 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 16 

    General Election: October 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and November 1 

    Voters can find their county’s Supervisor of Elections here. 

    What do I need bring on Election Day to vote at the polls? 

    When voting in person, Florida requires some form of voting identification present at the time of voting. The following are acceptable forms of ID: 

    • Florida driver’s license 
    • Florida identification card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles 
    • United States passport 
    • Debit or credit card 
    •  Military identification 
    • Student identification 
    • Retirement center identification 
    • Neighborhood association identification 
    • Public assistance identification 
    • Veteran health identification card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs 
    • License to carry a concealed weapon or firearm issued pursuant to s. 790.06 
    • Employee identification card issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the federal government, the state, a county, or a municipality 

    A voter who presents an ID without a signature must show a second form of identification that includes the voter’s signature. 

    What if I am a convicted felon and I want to restore my voting rights?

    According to Amendment 4, it has been deemed unconstitutional to require any fines or fees for felons to restore their rights to vote. Per the Florida Divisions of Elections, this is how felons restore their rights: 

    1. If convicted of murder or felony sexual offense, voting rights in Florida can only be restored through clemency pursuant to section 8, Art. V of the Florida Constitution. To apply for clemency, search for grant of clemency and certificates, and/or find out more information about clemency, visit the website for the Florida Commission on Offender Review. 

    2. If convicted of any other felony offense, voting rights are restored upon completion of all terms of a sentence including parole or probation pursuant to section 4., Art. VI of the Florida Constitution. Such convicted felon may alternatively apply for clemency to restore voting rights. 

    3. To determine if you have completed all the terms of your sentence including parole or probation as to one or more felony conviction(s), contact one or more of the following offices as may be applicable: Florida Department of Corrections, and /or the clerk of the court in the jurisdiction(s) in which you were convicted whether that be a circuit court in Florida, a court in another state, or a federal court. 

    For more information on voting, head to the Florida Division of Elections website or contact your county’s Supervisor of Elections.

  • 7 Jun 2020 6:13 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    On Friday, June 5th, Phase 2 of Governor Ron DeSantis’ “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery” took effect. The plan encourages Floridians to limit personal interactions outside the home and exercise responsible individual activity, but allows for the conditional reopening of certain businesses and facilities.

    Sixty-four of Florida’s 67 counties moved to Phase 2, the exceptions being Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, where COVID-19 has been most prevalent.

    According to the Florida Department of Health, as of June 7th the state’s total confirmed COVID-19 cases was 63,938 and deaths of 2,700 related to the virus. Hospitalizations due to the virus were also reported at 10,942.

    What is Phase 2?

    For restaurants, bars and pubs, Phase 2 allows 50 percent capacity indoors and full capacity outdoors as long as appropriate social distancing is followed, as well as bar-top seating. Patrons can only receive service if seated. All businesses are encouraged to continue to provide delivery or pickup and to take orders online or by telephone. Nightclubs must remain closed until further notice.

    Entertainment businesses, like movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys and arcades, can operate at 50 percent with appropriate social distancing and sanitization protocols.

    Other businesses such as retail stores and gyms can now operate at full capacity with appropriate social distancing and frequent sanitization. 

    If a business violates the Phase 2 orders, they could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

    What about unemployment?

    While some Floridians are able to go back to work under Phase 2, many continue to struggle financially. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, which handles the state’s unemployment system, reports more than 2.3 million Floridians have filed for unemployment and 1,236,485 claims have been paid

    Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), the federal program that provides up to 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who have exhausted regular unemployment benefits under state or federal law or have no rights to regular unemployment benefits, is now ready to be administered according to the DEO. Floridians who have already exhausted their benefits or have a claim that expired after July 1 will still be able to apply for those benefits. In order to qualify for PEUC, Floridians must complete an application for state Reemployment Assistance benefits, which can be found here

    When will Phase 3 begin?

    It is still unclear when Governor DeSantis will move the state to Phase 3. 


    Click here for a guide to applying for PEUC

    Governor DeSantis PowerPoint Presentation on Phase 2

    Executive Order on Phase 2 

    FAQs for Phase 2 — General Questions

    Florida Chamber of Commerce Guidance and Direction on Phase 2

    Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Map

  • 3 May 2020 5:36 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    Governor Ron DeSantis at a press conference on April 29th.

    Although the legislative session has come to an end, how to reopen Florida amid the COVID-19 pandemic is on everyone’s agenda.

    The state, like the nation, has seen an incredible increase in unemployment because of the shutdown. According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, more than 1.7 million Floridians have filed for unemployment and 452,526 claims have been paid.

    With mounting pressure to reopen the economy, Governor Ron DeSantis announced his “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step Plan” for Florida’s Recovery in a press conference on April 29th.

    The Governor’s Executive Order 20-112 will go into effect statewide May 4th, however in coordination with Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach county mayors, these three counties will follow stricter protocol without the re-open provisions of the Executive Order.

    For businesses, Phase 1 will allow restaurant dining rooms to open at 25% building capacity and full outdoor seating. On-site sale and retail businesses will also be allowed to operate at 25% occupancy. All businesses are encouraged to continue to provide delivery or pickup and to take orders online or by telephone, and business that are currently open may remain open and should continue appropriate social distancing and sanitation measures. Bars, nightclubs and gyms, however, will remain closed during Phase 1 of re-opening.

    Businesses that exceed 25% capacity may face enforcement penalties including a second-degree misdemeanor with a fine up to $500. Certain regulated businesses may face enforcement action for violations from their regulatory agency.

    In response to the “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step Plan” Florida Senate President Bill Galvano released the following statement, "The 'Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step Plan for Florida’s Recovery' announced today by Governor DeSantis represents a fact-based, strategic and measured approach that responsibly balances the resilient spirit of hardworking Floridians across our state who are eager to return to work with sensible and science-based public health guidelines developed in conjunction with medical professionals.”

    However, not everyone was pleased with the announcement or how DeSantis has addressed the effects of the pandemic in the state.

    "More than 1,000 Floridians have died in this pandemic, but you wouldn’t know it listening to Governor DeSantis’ indignant press conference today," Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo said. "Enough with the self-congratulatory media performances, where are the tests?”

    According to the Florida Department of Health, confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in Florida have reached more than 36,000, resulting in at least 1,379 deaths.

    Although Phase 1 is set to go into effect Monday, the Governor does recommend that vulnerable individuals avoid close contact with people in public, that everyone maintains social distancing and that groups of 10 or more are avoided in social settings.

    In addition, local governments will have the ability to impose local restrictionsThe "Safer-at-Home" order that went into effect on April 3rd for the entire state, which allowed only essential activities and services, will remain in effect in most of South Florida until further notice.

    For more information on “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step Plan” and other Executive Orders from Governor DeSantis, visit https://www.flgov.com/

    The “Safe, Smart, Step-by-Step Plan” pdf can be found here.

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