Why Do I Need to Stay at Home?
On Wednesday, April 1, 2020, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statewide stay-at-home order for 30 days to fight the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, it was not an April Fools’ Day joke.
The stay at home order’s purpose is to ensure that all Floridians practice social distancing, which means limiting your interactions with others. And, staying at least six feet apart when interacting with people outside your home.
This may seem severe, but it is all for a good reason. While it is true that the vast majority of people will experience a mild illness, approximately 15 percent may have serious illness in need of hospitalization. According to U.S. public health experts, if social distancing does not occur, coronavirus cases will overwhelm the health systems and deaths will increase. Specifically, staying at home may be the difference between millions of people dying from the virus and thousands.
You have an important role in fighting the spread of COVID-19 – stay at home.
E. Robert Schwartz, M.D., a physician with the University of Miami Health System, also says that if you do leave your home for allowed tasks, like grocery shopping or outdoor activities, that you should wear something that covers your face.
“It’s become clear that people should be wearing a mask when out in public,” he says. “Even if it’s not a regulation mask, clearly something is better than nothing in terms of exposing yourself or others to microdroplet particles which may have coronavirus attached to them.”
What is included in the stay at home order?
The order went into effect at midnight, on April 3, and will last for 30 days. UMiami Health News compiled an at-a-glance overview for how the stay-at-home order affects Florida residents and businesses.
What we can do:
- Go to the doctor’s office for essential visits. Many offices and hospitals have revised their policies.
- Engage in outdoor activities such as walking, biking, jogging, dog walking, fishing, hunting, swimming – as long as you stay six feet away from others and avoid beaches and closed parks
- Work from home
- Go to the pharmacy, grocery store, convenience store, or laundry mat (senior shopping hours remain in effect)
- Order food for take-out, delivery, or curb-side pickup by phone or online
- Attend religious services in churches or other houses of worship
- Care for or assist loved ones or friends
- Take care of pets
What we can’t do:
- Go to work, unless you provide essential services (for a complete list of essential workers, see the Department of Homeland Security website)
- Visit family or friends unless there is an urgent need
- Hold social gatherings in public spaces
- Hold social gatherings of more than 10 people
- Ignore social distancing guidelines (staying six feet apart from another person)
Tips for staying sane while staying at home
Staying at home doesn’t sound as fantastic when you have to, especially in such uncertain times. These tips may help:
Focus on the fundamentals: Good eating and sleeping habits are always the best path to mental health and a strong immune system. Remember, don’t sleep the day away because you can and don’t start baking around the clock because you’re bored.
Beware the media overload: Yes, you should stay up to date with what is happening with COVID-19. No, you shouldn’t leave the news on all day long.
Get some fresh air: Staying at home does not have to mean staying indoors. You can ride a bike, go for a jog, or take a walk as long as you stay six feet away from those around you. Plus, exercise is another great way to keep the mind and body healthy!
Make good memories: Remember, this is an unprecedented time in our recent history. The more upbeat we keep ourselves and our families, the easier it is to get through it, and maybe create some new positive family memories in the process.
Written by Nancy Moreland and Natasha Bright.