Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at the Miami-Dade Emergency Operations Center on June 8. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images

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.

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.

Go deeper: Fauci says he's "concerned" about "disturbing surge" of infections in Texas, Florida and Arizona

Go deeper

Jul 9, 2020 - Health

Fauci: States with severe coronavirus outbreaks "should seriously look at shutting down"

Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci on Wednesday told a Wall Street Journal podcast that states experiencing a significant uptick in new coronavirus cases "should seriously look at shutting down."

The big picture: The comments come as states like Florida, Texas and Arizona have become new hotspots for the virus, with soaring rates of infections and rising deaths.

Jul 9, 2020 - Health

Florida reports highest single-day coronavirus death toll since pandemic began

People are tested for COVID-19 in Orlando, Florida on July 8. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

120 people in Florida have died from the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the state's health department reported on Thursday.

Why it matters: It's the state's highest daily death toll from the coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

Jul 7, 2020 - Health

Birx: Some Southern states "stepped on the gas" when reopening

Deborah Birx participates at the White House on July 7. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Many of the Southern states that are experiencing a significant surge in coronavirus infections "stepped on the gas" while lifting lockdown restrictions, unlike the regions in the North that were hit hard in March and April, White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx told Wharton Business Daily on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The White House published non-binding guidelines in April that recommended states report 14 days of declining coronavirus cases before reopening. Most states did not meet that criteria, according to the New York Times.