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Florida Republicans and Democrats Split on COVID-19 Response

March 25th, 2020 by Jake Stofan

Throughout the coronavirus outbreak Florida’s policies for fighting the coronavirus largely mirror those coming from the White House.

After the President said Tuesday that he hopes to begin opening up the country, the Governor made it clear he also is looking to find ways to get business up and running.

At the same time, Florida Democrats are demanding stricter measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

President Donald Trump set an Easter goal to begin opening up parts of the country, hoping for a speedy economic recovery.

“Because our country wants to be open. Our people want it to be open,” said Trump.

Governor Ron DeSantis is also looking to find the right balance between virus mitigation and economic impacts.

“Clearly we’ve got to do something about the virus and there’s no way a nine month shutdown would possibly be sustainable,” said DeSantis.

Florida Democrats are calling for more strict measures with at least four state Senators demanding a statewide shelter in place order.

The calls are being echoed by the lone statewide elected Democrat, Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried.

“The only way to stop the spreading of this is to shut us down,” said Fried.

But DeSantis has pushed back, preferring to let local governments make those decisions.

“Some people think that the Governor should just be a dictator and just order everyone imprisoned in their homes and I don’t think that would be an effective approach, but it’s certainly not warranted in certain parts of the state,” said DeSantis.

DeSantis has also questioned the effectiveness of stay at home orders, pointing to massive block parties in states like California and New York.

But Fried believes things could get worse without extraordinary measures.

“Our ER doctors, our hospitals, they’re just not going to have the capacity to handle this if we have the type of outbreak that is expected if we don’t slow down this virus,” said Fried.

Most recently the Governor put new restrictions on travelers fleeing New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, requiring a 14 day self quarantine on those entering Florida from the northeast.

DeSantis hasn’t officially endorsed the President’s Easter goal for reopening parts of the country, nor has he set any date for loosening precautions here in Florida.

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