Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is defending his decision to refrain from issuing a statewide stay-at-home order in the Sunshine State, stressing the importance of taking a more “surgical approach.”
His defense comes as local officials in Orange County, Florida, issue a stay-at-home order, as confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus continue to rise in the state.
“It’s not clear to me that doing a massive shutdown of an entire state would even work,” DeSantis said this week, contending that a sweeping order could negatively impact areas of the state not heavily affected by the virus.
“There’s certain parts of the state where you have more sporadic cases,” he said during a press conference at Florida’s Logistics Response Center in Orlando on Wednesday.
“To order someone not to be able to earn a paycheck when them going to work is not going to have any effect on what we’re doing with the virus, that is something that I think is inappropriate,” he continued, stressing the importance of a “surgical approach.”
“We obviously have an outbreak in southeast Florida, so they’ve gone to a stay-at-home. I worked with them on that,” he added.
DeSantis’s strategy has been to leave more aggressive measures up to localities, and Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings seized on that this week, formally issuing a stay-at-home order taking effect Thursday at 11 p.m. ET. The order will span two weeks, expiring April 9 at 11 p.m. ET. Essential businesses will remain open. Like other stay-at-home orders across the country, those include grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, gas stations, and healthcare providers.
The Florida governor has, however, taken a series of steps to slow the spread of the virus in his state, including ordering a 14-day quarantine for those traveling from the New York Tri-State area. He also implemented a 30-day closure of nightclubs and bars and suspended restaurant dine-in services and elective medical procedures.
“We have a special obligation to protect the groups of people who are elderly or those with a serious medical condition,” he said.
Florida currently has 2,355 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.