Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said bluntly Thursday morning on Fox News that “the party is over” for spring break revelers who’ve been crowding the state’s beaches during the global coronavirus pandemic.
“The message I think for spring breakers is the party is over in Florida,” he told the hosts of FNC’s “Fox & Friends.” “You’re not going to be able to congregate on any beach in the state. Many of the hot spots that people like to go to, whether it’s Miami beach, Fort Lauderdale and Clearwater Beach, are closed entirely for the time being.”
Not every beach is closed, as the governor has steadfastly refused to issue a top-down authoritarian decree forcing every local community with a beach to close its beach. Instead, he’s left the option open to individual localities.
However, the governor is justifiably forcing every beach to abide by federal CDC guidelines that stipulate no more than 10 people congregate at one spot.
“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,” he explained.
(Source: Fox News)
His remarks come amid an upsurge of criticism aimed at him over his refusal to fully embrace the authoritarianism of mostly Democrat governors such as California Gov. Gavin Newsom and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
While DeSantis has hesitantly instituted a 30-day moratorium on bars and nightclubs operating, he’s refused to pursue more draconian measures such as New Jersey’s “strongly recommended” 8:00 pm curfew and New York’s closure of restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, and casinos “until further notice.”
The criticism hasn’t been aimed at DeSantis purely from Democrats, though. Speaking on CNN early Thursday morning, the governor’s immediate predecessor, former Gov. Rick Scott, also a Republican, suggested his administration needs to do more.
“Individuals need to take responsibility and every level of government has got to be very clear: Don’t be on the beach unless you can somehow be completely by yourself,” he said.
“I mean, we’ve got to figure out the social distancing. … Every part of government has to start telling people: ‘Take some personal responsibility here. Don’t infect other people. Don’t take a chance that you’re going to be the one who is gonna cause your grandparent, or your parents, or another friend from school to get sick.'”
He aimed some criticism directly at the beachgoers as well, saying, “What are you thinking? Stop doing it. Get off the beach!”
“Get off the beach,” Florida @SenRickScott says for people who are on the state’s beaches despite coronavirus warnings. “Don’t take a chance that you’re going to… cause your grandparent or your parents or another friend from school to get sick.”https://t.co/zpE1Hu9slv pic.twitter.com/yo118zTNYt
— New Day (@NewDay) March 19, 2020
DeSantis’s approach has been far less dictatorial, but still scientifically based.
Continuing his remarks on “Fox & Friends,” he noted for instance that the notorious photos of beachgoers partying in Florida that have recently gone viral were snapped before the CDC adjusted its guidelines.
“The images from Clearwater were from Saturday,” he said. “At that point, the CDC guidance was for groups of 250 or more. And then on Sunday, they changed it to 50.”
“So we were working with locals to figure out what would make sense for us on a whole variety of things. And then the next day on Monday, they changed it to the 10. So at that point, we [decided] to steer clear of any large groups.”
See some of the Clearwater footage below:
Clearwater Beach, #Florida is PACKED today despite “social distancing” recommendations.#CoronavirusOutbreak
Please don’t do this brothers and sisters. pic.twitter.com/yKqA5nuOI3
— Terrence Daniels (Captain Planet) (@Terrence_STR) March 16, 2020
WATCH: @KerryNBC reports from Clearwater Beach, Florida, where young people are going to the beach during their spring breaks amid coronavirus.
“None of us have it … I don’t see why not to be at the beach, enjoying life.” pic.twitter.com/6vJoTZzF8f
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 19, 2020
MEANWHILE, IN FLORIDA: Yesterday the beaches in Clearwater were packed despite official recommendations to avoid large crowds.
STORY: https://t.co/j4aRA3WASK pic.twitter.com/5KTYbHEDuR
— KETK NEWS (@KETK) March 17, 2020
The footage from Clearwater was so disturbing they inspired a rant from FNC’s Greg Gutfeld.
DeSantis added that now that the CDC guidelines have been more fine-tuned, far fewer people should be seen at his state’s beaches, especially as more and more youngsters cancel their spring break plans.
“You will see a lot fewer people coming to Florida right now,” he said. “The numbers are off the charts in terms of cancellations.”
They could potentially rise even higher if more social media “influencers” such as socialite Kylie Jenner honor Surgeon General Jerome Adams’ request that they tell their impressionable young fans to take coronavirus more seriously.
“We need to get Kylie Jenner and social media influencers out there, in helping folks understand that look, this is serious, this is absolutely serious. People are dying,” Adams said Thursday on “Good Morning America.”
Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams on millennials and the coronavirus: “We need to get our social media influencers out there and helping folks understand that look this is serious.” https://t.co/M1e2wFmU6F pic.twitter.com/FNjZB12mKK
— Good Morning America (@GMA) March 19, 2020
According to reports, Jenner has already been doing this, meaning it’s contingent on other “influencers” to follow suit, the sooner the better.
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