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Department of Elder Affairs Issues Guidance for Guardians in Light of COVID-19

March 31, 2020

By: Melody Lynch

On March 30, 2020, the Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) issued Emergency Order No. 20-01 relating to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. DOEA’s guidance falls in line with order issued by Governor Ron DeSantis on March 9 declaring a state of emergency in Florida due to COVID-19 (No. 20-52), as well as the Division of Emergency Management (DEM) Order (No. 20-006), restricting individuals from visiting certain state facilities such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other like facilities described in the DEM Order.

In its order, the DOEA suspends the requirement enumerated in Section 744.2103(6), Florida Statutes, that public and professional guardians must visit their wards in person at least once a quarter if the ward is residing in a facility where visitation is restricted due to the COVID-19 response. The DOEA assures its public and professional guardians that they must adhere to all guidance pertaining to the COVID-19 emergency.

Moreover, the order advises that all guardians will have thirty (30) days following the lifting of Governor DeSantis’ Order (No. 20-52) to personally visit any wards that were not visited during the preceding quarter as a result of COVID-19 closures or restrictions.

If you have questions regarding an existing guardianship or need to establish a guardianship for a loved one, please contact Melody Lynch at 407-418-6447  or

Be sure to visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Team page to keep up to date on the latest news.

This article is informational only. You should consult an attorney before acting or failing to act. The law may change rapidly and no warranty is given. LOWNDES DISCLAIMS ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES AND WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. ALL ARTICLES ARE PROVIDED AS IS AND WITH ALL FAULTS. Consult a Lowndes attorney if you wish to establish an attorney/client relationship.

Melody Lynch is a litigator and founding member of the firm’s Data Governance Group. She focuses her legal practice on complex business litigation, banking litigation, probate & trust litigation, guardianship, intellectual property litigation, labor & employment litigation, family law and step-parent adoption.

Melody has worked on matters involving a wide variety of business disputes, employment contracts, non-competition agreements, non-disclosure agreements and trade secrets. Her estate litigation practice focuses on matters involving wills, trusts, or guardianships.

A frequent author and lecturer on the topics of employment law, eDiscovery, workplace privacy and technology, Melody assists clients in preparing document retention and destruction policies. She has litigated complex cases involving voluminous amounts of electronically stored information (ESI), designing review platforms and managing document preservation, collection, and production efforts through settlement or trial.

The court room isn’t the only stage on which Melody has appeared. Before pursuing her career in law, Melody attended college on a ballet scholarship and danced with a professional ballet company as an apprentice dancer. Lynch received her bachelor’s degree from Butler University, is a graduate of Stetson University College of Law and holds an M.B.A from Stetson University. She often calls on her educational background, augmented by experience, to counsel clients on complex business and employment matters. She has represented clients in the health care, environmental, hospitality, and banking industries, among others.

Additionally, Melody is heavily involved in the Central Florida community and has been awarded with the Presidential Leadership Award by the Orange County Bar Association. Additionally she was named "40 under 40" by the Orlando Business Journal. She holds positions on boards of several organizations, which are all included below. She is a Guardian ad Litem for the Legal Aid Society where she represents the interests of abused and neglected children. She is a pro bono attorney for Seniors First where she represents the interests of indigent elderly wards. 

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