TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration on Thursday stopped face-to-face interactions between agency staff members and the public, in the latest effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19.
The Department of Management Services, the state’s administrative arm, directed state employees to close to the public all facilities operated by executive agencies until April 19, according to a memo obtained by The News Service of Florida.
The closures could be extended, state officials said.
“Floridians seeking assistance from agencies housed within DMS-managed facilities should contact the agency by phone or email for services,” the memo said.
The agencies affected include the Department of Education, the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Transportation, the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Department of Law Enforcement. The move comes after the White House earlier this week issued guidelines saying that people should stop gathering in groups of 10 or more individuals.
The DMS memo did not refer to that specific recommendation but said agency officials are monitoring and responding to “facility needs” based on guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Department of Emergency Management.
While all facilities will be closed to the public, all buildings “will remain operational for employees at this time,” the memo said. Work areas are being cleaned and hand-sanitizer stations are being installed in high-traffic areas to “ensure the health and safety of those working within DMS-managed facilities,” officials said in the memo.