Despite the spread of coronavirus in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis continues to look forward to a time when the state will reopen for business. On Tuesday morning the governor hosted the second meeting of the Re-Open Florida Task Force; it was the Industry Working Group and included representatives of the tourism and hospitality industries.
“Given where we are with flattening the curve, given the fact that we have more hospital capacity than anyone would have predicted just a few weeks ago, I think that we’re going to be in a situation where that hospital system’s not going to be at risk just as long as we approach this in a way that’s intelligent.”
DeSantis says the coronavirus pandemic has caused a “huge hysteria that has swept the country.”
“I think it’s less about what’s not essential or essential and more about what’s safe and can you take activities that we’ve typically done and ensure a level of safety. And not just because we want it to be safe. We obviously do.
“I think what this has shown and there was a huge hysteria that has swept the country. A lot of people were really, really scared and many of them still are scared. Are they going to have the confidence to want to do some of the things that we used to do? I think the things that the different industries are doing or thinking about are going to be important.
“And it isn’t going to be for me to tell you exactly how to do it as Governor I don’t know that that would even be the most effective. Because I think everyone has a business interest in getting this done in a way that’s safe and that people have confidence in. Because if you don’t, even if you’re, quote, allowed to be open, that ain’t going to be good for business.”
Tampa’s Dana Young, the President and CEO of Visit Florida, said that once travel is allowed, her group will target Floridians with marketing.
“Given that Floridians will be in the best position to immediately travel in Florida, people that live in our state will be incredibly important in restarting Florida’s tourism industry.
“We believe that the best way to immediately help is for the entire tourism industry, led by VisitFlorida, to encourage Floridians to support local businesses by taking an in-state vacation.
“Our marketing will aim to invoke a sense of Florida pride by reminding Floridians that they are blessed to live in one of the most amazing vacation destinations in the world. We believe Floridians will respond positively, especially since there’s an existing desire to support and rebuild local businesses. Visit Florida will tap into this concept of state patriotism that Floridians already have in abundance.”
An advocate for restaurants recommended that the task force come up with a time certain for reopening that provides enough time for establishments to ramp up to the opening, including an expected strain on the supply chain.
The number of people hospitalized in Florida due to symptoms of COVID-19 has climbed to more than 4,000 for the first time.
According to the state’s Department of Health website, updated Tuesday morning, 4,063 people infected with coronavirus are hospitalized in Florida, that’s about 200 more than Monday morning.
839 people have died from COVID-19 in the state, meaning 50 people died since Monday’s tally.
Nearly 28,500 people have tested positive in Florida, almost 2,000 since Monday morning.
There are almost certainly more positive cases than that because only a small percentage of Floridians have been tested.
The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that a fourth resident of a Seminole nursing has died from COVID-19. The paper says the National Guard will arrive Wednesday to test for coronavirus at elder-care centers across Pinellas County.
Manatee County still leads the Tampa Bay area in the number of deaths from COVID-19.
Thirty-four people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in Manatee and there have been a total of 437 positive cases there. After Manatee, Sarasota County has the next most number of deaths with 28. 296 people have tested positive in Sarasota.
The two largest counties in the region have more coronavirus cases but fewer deaths. In Hillsborough, there are 977 positive cases (with 19 deaths) and in Pinellas has 611 cases (with 17 deaths). There have been 211 coronavirus cases in Pasco (with 3 deaths), 85 in Hernando (with 3 deaths), 92 in Citrus (with 8 deaths) and 351 in Polk (with 14 deaths).
The City of St. Petersburg announced today that there will be no-cost COVID-19 testing by appointment only at Childs Park Recreation Center.
It’s Saturday from 8:00 a.m. until noon at 4301 13th Avenue South in St. Pete. For an appointment, call 727-568-8028.
The group Florida Freedom Keepers says it will hold a car caravan on Friday against Governor DeSantis’s safer-at-home orders protecting people during the coronavirus emergency. It’s Friday at 3:00 p.m. in front of Tampa’s Fox affiliate, Channel 13, at 3213 West Kennedy. The slogan on the flyer says Re-Open Florida, Wake Up, Stand Up, Rise Up.
Pasco County announced Tuesday it will reopen some parks with limited access for essential recreation activities Wednesday.
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The Governor’s Office released this information Tuesday …
Members of the Re-Open Task Force Industry Working Group are as follows:
- Dana Young, President & CEO, VISIT FLORIDA
- Secretary Halsey Beshears, Secretary, Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation
- Secretary Kevin Thibault, Secretary, Florida Department of Transportation
- Mayor Lenny Curry, Mayor, Jacksonville
- Mayor David Kerner, Mayor, Palm Beach County
- Sheldon Suga, Chairman, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association
- Blake Casper, CEO, Caspers Company
- Amy Schwartz, Owner, Bella Bella Restaurant
- Collier Merrill, President, Merrill Land Company
- Philip Goldfarb, President & COO, Fontainebleau Miami Beach
- John Tolbert, President & Managing Director, Boca Resort and Club
- Jose Cil, CEO, Restaurant Brands International
- Josh D’Amaro, President, Walt Disney World Resort
- John Sprouls, CEO, Universal Orlando Resort, Executive Vice President, Universal Parks & Resorts
- Tim Petrillo, Co-Founder & CEO, The Restaurant People
- Dev Motwani, President & CEO, Merrimac Ventures
- Chad Harrod, CEO, Harrod Properties, Inc.
- Walter Carpenter, Chairman, NFIB Florida Leadership Council
- Len Brown, Executive Vice President & Chief Legal Officer, PGA Tour, Inc
- Gary Lester, Vice President, The Villages for Community Relations
- Glen Gilzean, President & CEO, Central Florida Urban League
- Max Alvarez, President, Sunshine Gasoline Distributors, Inc.
- Tom Crowley, CEO, Crowley Maritime Corporation
- Joe Lopano, CEO, Tampa International Airport
- Ted Christie III, President & CEO, Spirit Airlines
- Rick Sasso, President & CEO, MSC Cruises
- Maury Gallagher Jr., Chairman & CEO, Allegiant Air
- AJ de Moya, Vice President & General Manager, The de Moya Group, Inc.
- Paul Anderson, CEO, Port Tampa Bay
- Ken Stiles, CEO, Stiles Corporation
- Bob Flowers, President, C.W. Roberts Contracting, Inc.
- Rob Kornahrens, President & CEO, Advanced Roofing and Green Technlogies
- Monesia Brown, Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations, Walmart
- Cody Kahn, Owner, Holiday Inn Resort
- Matthew Caldwell, President & CEO, Florida Panthers Hockey Club