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Gov. Ron DeSantis Not Ready To Announce Plan To Reopen Florida

Patch logo Patch 4/24/2020 Paul Scicchitano
Ron DeSantis wearing a suit and tie: Gov. Ron DeSantis did not say whether he will extend his emergency order for Florida's more than 20 million residents. © Photo by Paul Scicchitano Gov. Ron DeSantis did not say whether he will extend his emergency order for Florida's more than 20 million residents.

TALLAHASSEE, FL — Facing an unprecedented wave of unemployment in his state and mounting pressure from the business community, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday he will take the weekend to cull through recommendations from a task force working on a short-term plan for reopening Florida amid the coronavirus outbreak.

"I'm not concerned about specific dates as much as I am about getting it right," the governor said. "I'm going to work today, and all through the weekend about what we need to do and make sure we're doing it in the way that makes the most sense."

A state task force comprised of business leaders, elected officials, industry groups and educators has been meeting all week to come up with a short-term plan for reopening the state. The task force will also work on medium-term and long-term plans for reopening the state.

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The governor's announcement came as the number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus rose to 30,174 and deaths for the first time surpassed the 1,000 mark on Friday. See 30,174 Florida Cases Of Coronavirus; 1,012 Deaths

"It’s been a rough couple of months, not only for the state but for the country," DeSantis said. "People have sacrificed a lot to be able to fight the spread of this virus. We’ve seen people out of work in numbers that we’re not used to."

DeSantis did not say whether he will extend his emergency order for Florida's more than 20 million residents who have been told to stay home unless they are engaged in "essential services" and "essential activities."

"There's no firm date where we've got to go to this phase or that phase," the governor said. "Let's make sure we're doing it thoughtfully. Let's make sure we have input from not just folks in the business community, in the medical community, but also folks in local government in different parts of the state."

A new poll of Florida voters released this week found an overwhelming majority do not want social distancing rules relaxed just yet.

The Quinnipiac University poll said 72 percent of the registered Florida voters they surveyed favor not loosening social distancing requirements at the end of April.

"We have a big diverse state," DeSantis told reporters. "I think there's probably some pretty divergent views about the path forward in different regions of the state."

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