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Coronavirus Funding Expected to Get Big Boost

March 10th, 2020 by Mike Vasilinda

Florida lawmakers are upping the ante when it comes to funding to fight the Coronavirus.

They have already agreed to spend a total of $75 million in state and local funding, but they want to add $200 million more just in case.

The Florida House was back to business as usual on Tuesday.

It was a far cry from Monday afternoon when the chamber was evacuated and disinfected as a precaution.

Five members were at an event 10 days prior, where one person later tested positive for Covid-19.

Representative Dr. Cary Pigman led the effort.

“We were trying to prepare for the worst, and we got the cleaning started. But once we sat down and got to talking to Dr. Rivkees, and also talked to the members in greater detail, they fell in this very low risk category,” said Pigman.

Representative Byron Donalds was one of five briefly quarantined.

“For a moment, you’re oh my gosh, seriously you are. But then you sit down and take stock of your personal health and where you are. The other members that I was with in self imposed quarantine, for a lack of better words, we kind of realized were were fine and going to be fine,” said Donalds.

Lawmakers usually deal in the abstract with problems that are far away or remote, but Monday’s scare brought the virus front and center.

Hours after the scare, legislative leaders decided to tuck another $200 million into the state’s reserve account just in case.

“We have to do that work of where do we find these dollars, but we want to put together a good pot of money,” said House Speaker Jose Oliva.

That money can be used as needed to fight the emergency under the executive order issued by the Governor Monday.

The state Department of Agriculture issued guidance for restaurants and other licensed establishments, urging them to train employees, provide wipes and tissues, and encouraging them to wipe down counter tops and even grocery cart handles frequently.

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