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Coronavirus in Florida

Gov. DeSantis to let retired disaster personnel return to work for coronavirus response

The state looks to increase manpower to fight the coronavirus.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Monday allowing recently retired state law enforcement and health care personnel to return to work in an effort to increase manpower in the state’s coronavirus response.

Current law prevents the reemployment of state workers six months from retirement and voids the pension plans of workers who returned in the last 12 months, but the Governor said there are concerns manpower could decline with the spread of the contagious novel virus.

“You could have somebody that gets exposed to the virus and they have to isolate, their contacts have to self-isolate,” he said. “That creates a potential manpower issue.”

The order would protect the pensions of former law enforcement, first responders, emergency management and public safety personnel, as well as other former employees deemed critical for the COVID-19 response.

“We need to have folks who are willing to come return to service,” he added.

DeSantis announced the order Monday morning at a testing site located at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens alongside Lt. Gov. Jeanette Núñez, Division of Emergency Management director Jared Moskowitz and mayors from nearby cities.

The Governor is also issuing an executive order setting up a unified “safer at home” order spanning four South Florida counties as the state continues to combat the COVID-19 virus pandemic. That order will be modeled off Miami-Dade County’s version of a “safer at home” order and will be in effect until mid-May, according to DeSantis.

Florida Department of Health officials now report 5,473 coronavirus cases in the state after adding more than 500 people to the state’s tally overnight. At least 63 people have died from COVID-19 and 652 have been hospitalized.

The order will be valid until 30 days after the expiration of the COVID-19 public health emergency currently slated to end May 9.

Also Monday, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis issued his own order allowing state employees who interact with patients possibly infected with the coronavirus to receive workers’ compensation.

Written By

Renzo Downey covers the Florida Legislature for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at renzo@floridapolitics.com and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.

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