State of Emergency – What Do I Do Now?
Our federal, state and local governments have declared a State of Emergency due to the Coronavirus – COVID-19. The Center of Disease Control (CDC) has issued guidelines entitled “15 Days to Slow the Spread,” encouraging social distancing and maintaining 6 feet of separation between people to slow the spread of infection. In addition to keeping you and your family healthy and safe during this challenging time, there are legal questions you may have that Glantzlaw can help you with.
Curfews: Some municipalities have begun issuing curfews. For example, the City of North Miami Beach has enacted a curfew from 10PM to 5AM. If you are found to be out in violation of such a curfew, you will be in violation of a City Ordinance, which under the law is a Misdemeanor of the Second Degree. This is a criminal violation, and faces up to six (6) months of probation and 60 days in County Jail. Before going out, make sure you know whether the city where you live is under a curfew.
Business Closures: Many businesses have been mandated as non-essential, and therefore closed. Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach ordered all non-essential businesses closed. If a business is found open in violation of this Order, that would be a violation of a County Order, which is also a Misdemeanor of the Second Degree. Before opening your business, confirm whether your county has issued any closure order and whether business is considered essential.
Employment Questions: Unfortunately, with business closures and curfews, there will be a reduction in the active working labor force. It is very important that you are familiar with your Employer’s policies concerning sick leave and other forms of leave. If you are laid off due to COVID-19, you should immediately file for unemployment online.
Effect on Your Open and Pending Court Cases – DELAY.
We know that each and every one of our Members wants their legal matter resolved. Each Member deserves to have their day in court. However, based on Florida Governor DeSantis’ declaration of a State of Emergency on March 13, 2020, the Florida Supreme Court issued Administrative Order (AOSC20-13). , This Order that will limit most face-to-face legal proceedings and suspend all grand jury proceedings, jury selection proceedings, and criminal and civil jury trials for a minimum of two weeks beginning Monday, March 16. The order authorizes local judges to use remote electronic means whenever possible and will be extended or modified as needed. In Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe and Lee Counties, only emergency matters will be heard by the courts from now until March 27, 2020. This may be extended. We have already seen cases being reset anywhere from six (6) to eight (8) weeks. Your attorney or his or her assistant will be in communication with you to keep you up-to-date.
If you have any questions regarding the content of this article, please contact our office during regular business hours beginning Monday, March 23, 2020.