Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ task force to study reopening Florida will study an array of topics to outline a framework for what everyday life in the state looks like as the battle against COVID-19 continues.
On Tuesday, the Governor first announced the task force on exploring the second phase of the state’s coronavirus response. He outlined more details on what the team will study including small business, agriculture, restaurants, tourism and international travel, large events and conventions, recreation and education.
“I’ll be seeking advice and ideas on pretty much everything under the sun,” DeSantis said.
The Governor has been assembling the team and should have everyone on board by the end of the day. And by the end of the week, he will likely make public the list of task force members.
“What I want to do is tap into people in elected office, people in business, people who are involved in education and all kinds of things, and get the best ideas about what’s the most prudent way to move forward,” he said.
DeSantis and Surgeon General Scott Rivkees have painted an optimistic picture, perhaps warranted, of the trajectory of new cases in the state. While models suggest the virus’ peak in Florida is still to come, the number of new cases per day appears to have plateaued at no higher than 1,200.
“Now that we are seeing these trends, we obviously have got to be thinking about what the next steps are for the state of Florida,” DeSantis said.
With the Department of Education’s advisory for schools to stay closed expiring next month, the Governor and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran face a looming deadline to decide if schools will open again before the end of the school year.
The state appears more likely to extend that advisory, at least for parts of the state, as more superintendents come out against reopening schools in May. On Thursday, DeSantis and Corcoran said if parents, school administrators and the department felt it was safe to return for a couple weeks, to return things to normalcy, the state would let the advisory lapse.
But DeSantis’ statements Thursday that “if it’s safe, we want kids to be in school” and “I think most parents want that,” wound up some people, he said.
“I said if parents think it’s safe, they would prefer kids in school. And I think that’s true, but that’s a contingency on that,” DeSantis said.