What’s the difference between ‘safer at home,’ 'shelter in place’ orders?

Miami-Dade County mayor says residents may still go outside to exercise, go to essential businesses

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Responding to a patchwork of different stay-at-home measures across municipalities, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez issued a county-wide order Thursday he calls “safer at home,” to be distinguished from “shelter in place.”

It sounds like a semantics game, but the mayor explained why he thought conceptually “shelter in place” doesn’t quite fit.

“Shelter in place is for short-term emergencies when people are in imminent danger, such as during hurricanes, tornadoes or active shooter incidents, which conveys a message of imminent danger and the need to shelter right away until an all-clear is issued,” Gimenez said.

Safer at home is a term that encapsulates the previous countywide orders we have already been living under.

It means don’t leave your house unless you have to.

Residents can leave their homes to get essentials, like groceries, restaurant pick-up services, gas and to visit to the doctor or pharmacy, or to work at another essential business.

The mayor’s office said residents can also walk their dogs or perform outdoor exercises, like jogging or bicycle riding.

Gimenez is also requiring essential businesses to take social distancing precautions.

“Throughout their stores and worksites. What this means is that all pick-up and take-out areas, as well as employee break rooms and common use areas should have markings on their floors or some other visible means of alerting people they must stay 6-feet apart,” Gimenez said.

The countywide safer at home executive order does state that cities can impose more stringent standards.

Take for example, the city of Miami, which has implemented a curfew that kicks in Friday night.

The curfew is from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. with three exceptions: People traveling to and from work at an essential business, medical emergencies and people walking dogs.

The city of Sweetwater also implemented an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew on Friday.

Dog walkers must stay within 250 feet of their residence.

“Together we can beat this and slow the spread,” Gimenez said.

Police will be breaking up groups of 10 people or more that are spotted outside.

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