Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said religious services conducted in churches, synagogues and houses of worship are “essential business” and therefore exempt from this stay-at-home executive order announced this afternoon.
The stay-at-home order issued by DeSantis goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. ET on Friday.
According to 2019 Census data, the population of the state has over 21 million people.
Florida has 6,946 confirmed coronavirus cases and 86 deaths, according to CNN's tally.
Some context: Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne said he wouldn't close the doors of his Tampa, Florida, megachurch until the End Times begin. The police weren't willing to wait that long.
On Monday, Florida sheriff's deputies arrested the evangelical pastor, who has continued to host large church services despite public orders urging residents to stay home to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said Howard-Browne has been charged with two counts: unlawful assembly and a violation of health emergency rules. Both are second-degree misdemeanors, Chronister said at a press conference Monday.