TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held another conference call Tuesday with his state coronavirus task force to discuss reopening of the state.
During the call, Walter Carpenter, Chairman of the National Federation of Independent Business in Florida, said that over 3-million workers could be impacted across the state.
Carpenter says according to a recent poll, 23 percent of small businesses reported their business had been impacted by the virus in mid-March. That number increased to 92 percent by the beginning of April.
On Monday, DeSantis also held a conference call with his new state coronavirus task force, saying he expects Florida to be a model for how to jump-start the economy once Florida reopens.
“This (COVID-19) is obviously a roadblock for the whole country, but I think if we bounce back in a very thoughtful, safe and efficient way, then I think we can minimize or at least mitigate some of the damage done and hopefully have a path back,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis announced his own state task force after President Trump’s team offered guidelines, leaving the decision making to governors.
Central Florida Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy said we need a smart restart. She serves on the President's task force.
“At the end of the day, this is a public health crisis and the only way we will be able to reopen the economy is when we're able to solve the public health issues at hand,” Murphy said. “That means more testing, more contact tracing capabilities, it means expanded health care capacity.”
Florida's economy relies not just on tourism but the hospitality industry which is anchored by the restaurant industry. Many restaurants, including those along Edgewater Drive in College Park, want to be able to open up in phase one and get some of that business back.
The family-owned College Park Café is struggling with just takeout business.
“We've seen probably an 80% drop in business, so it's really bad,” Julio Pelegrino said.
Pelegrino said they plan to cut seating capacity in half to keep social distancing when given the green light to reopen.
“I would love it if it was tomorrow but I would much rather the public and the nation be safe and secure before we reopen,” Pelegrino said.
Despite pressure from a growing number of people demanding that the state begin phase one of reopening, has given no target date.
Members of the Re-Open Florida Task Force Executive Committee are:
- Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez, Lieutenant Governor of Florida
- Jimmy Patronis, Florida Chief Financial Officer
- Ashley Moody, Florida Attorney General
- President Bill Galvano, President, Florida Senate
- Speaker Jose Oliva, Speaker, Florida House of Representatives
- Senator Wilton Simpson, President-Designate, Florida Senate
- Representative Chris Sprowls, Speaker-Designate, Florida House of Representatives
- Commissioner Richard Corcoran, Commissioner of Education
- Jamal Sowell, President & CEO, Enterprise Florida, Inc.
- Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Mayor, Miami-Dade County
- Mayor Dale Holness, Mayor, Broward County
- Mayor David Kerner, Mayor, Palm Beach County
- John Couris, President & CEO, Tampa General Hospital
- Josh D’Amaro, President, Walt Disney World Resort
- Todd Jones, CEO, Publix Super Markets
- Syd Kitson, Chairman, Board of Governors for the State University System
- Paul Reilly, Chairman & CEO, Raymond James Financial
- Alex Sanchez, President & CEO, Florida Bankers Association
- Eric Silagy, President & CEO, Florida Power & Light Company
- John Sprouls, CEO, Universal Orlando Resort, Executive Vice President, Universal Parks & Resorts
- Patrick Sunderlin, Vice President, Global Supply Chain, Lockheed Martin Corporation
- Joe York, President, AT&T Florida and Caribbean