Florida is "not going back" on reopening, governor says
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters on Tuesday that the state will not reinstate restrictions or close businesses to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Why it matters: More than 50% of coronavirus infections in the U.S. are from states like Florida, Texas, California and Arizona, Axios' Marisa Fernandez reports.
- NIAID director Anthony Fauci warned at a Senate committee hearing earlier on Tuesday that states "skipping over" checkpoints in federal reopening guidelines are contributing to hot spots in states including Florida, Texas and Arizona.
Driving the news: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) urged people to stay home last week to fight the "rampant" spread of COVID-19, as the state paused its reopening. Abbott said in a Friday interview that he regretted how quickly bars were allowed to reopen in the state.
What he's saying: When asked by reporters on Tuesday if he would tell people to stay home as Abbott did, DeSantis explained that social distancing has been recommended throughout the state's reopening and that protecting the elderly and vulnerable are the state's priorities.
- "We're not going back, closing things. I don't think that that's really what's driving it, people going to a business is not what's driving it," DeSantis said. "I think when you see the younger folks, I think a lot of it is more just social interactions, so that's natural."
- "We're open, we know who we need to protect, most of the folks in those younger demographics, although we want them to be mindful of what's going on, are just simply much much less at risk than the folks who are in those older age groups."
Where it stands: Florida's current phase of reopening does not put a limit on how many visitors can be in stores or gyms and allows bars to serve half as many guests as they normally would, although the state has suspended on-premises consumption of alcohol at bars. Social distancing is encouraged at all businesses.
- Daily fatalities reported in the state have declined since last Thursday, per the state's health department. Florida recorded its highest daily increase in coronavirus infections last Friday.
- The state has reported over 3,500 deaths, more than 14,500 hospitalizations and over 152,00 confirmed cases.