Democrats in the Florida delegation in the U.S. House urged Gov. Ron DeSantis to shut down beaches across the Sunshine State.
Florida Democrat U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Val Demings, Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings, Al Lawson, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Stephanie Murphy, Donna Shalala, Darren Soto, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson issued a joint statement on Thursday, calling on the governor to close the beaches.
“Due to the rapidly accelerating spread of coronavirus, it is essential that Florida’s governor use his power to immediately close access to all public beaches in the state of Florida,” they said in the statement. “Tourists and locals alike have shown that they will continue to visit our beaches in droves, so long as they remain open, despite the recommendations of local, state and federal health officials and the advice of public health experts. While this is no small request, eliminating access to beaches is an absolute necessity if we want to successfully slow the spread of the virus.”
DeSantis announced on Thursday that the state was cracking down on crowded beaches out of fears of the coronavirus spreading even as he said he expected the unemployment numbers to rise in the Sunshine State. The governor appeared on “Fox and Friends” on Thursday morning and said that spring breakers will no longer be able to come to the beach in large groups.
“The message I think for spring breakers is that the party’s over in Florida, you’re not going to be able to congregate on any beach in the state,” DeSantis said. “Many of the hot spots that people like to go to, whether it’s Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Clearwater Beach, are closed entirely for the time being.”
DeSantis said that beaches across the Sunshine State will follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) of limiting groups to 10 people or less.
“The bars are closed so you’re not going to have a place to congregate there, so we would just tell those folks maybe come back next year when things are better, but that is not what we’re looking for here in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said. “Every single beach will have to abide by the CDC guidelines, no more than 10 people, you have to be socially distant, not every beach is going to remain open, but some will.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.