Gov. DeSantis names members of working group to reopen economy
FILE - In this Oct. 29, 2019 file photo, Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at pre-legislative news conference on in Tallahassee, Fla. The state of Florida is asking a U.S. appellate court in Georgia to set aside an earlier judge's ruling that allowed some impoverished felons to regain access to the ballot box, despite owing fines and other legal debts. The matter that will play out Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020 before the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals is far from inconsequential because of the razor-thin margins that sometimes decide election contests in Florida, a perennial battleground state.(AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)

DeSantis Amendment 4 AP
That group differs from the task force executive committee, which was announced Monday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has named the group of government and commercial leaders who will help guide the state as it weighs the decision to reopen amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Following his first Re-Open Florida Task Force executive committee Monday, DeSantis announced the membership of the task force’s Working Group on Tourism, Construction, Real Estate, Recreation, Retail and Transportation.

Walt Disney World Resort President Josh D’Amaro is a member, as is Universal Orlando Resort CEO John Sprouls.

On the transportation front, Spirit Airlines President & CEO Ted Christie III and Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano were also named to the working group.

The panel will also include members of the DeSantis administration. Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears, Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin Thibault and Visit Florida President & CEO Dana Young are all members.

Representing the local level are Palm Beach County Mayor David Kerner and Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.

Members of the group were announced less than 15 minutes before holding their first meeting Tuesday morning. The Governor’s office did not release a full list of members of that committee until hours after its inaugural meeting Monday.

The Governor and local leaders are weighing plans to slowly reopen portions of the state to provide relief for individuals suffering economic hardship and others who are simply looking for additional recreational activities.

That’s prompted disagreement from some local leaders on how best to go forward. Critics worry that even a partial reopening will encourage individuals to gather en masse and potentially flout social distancing rules. That could lead to a second peak of infections, where widespread closures would once again be necessary.

But those supporting the push to slowly reopen say it can be done safely and in consultation with health experts. That was the line from Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez Monday when he announced plans to relax some restrictions at parks, marinas and golf courses, but said those decision were made in consultation with health experts.

Additional members of the Governor’s task force working group include:

Max Alvarez, President, Sunshine Gasoline Distributors, Inc.

Paul Anderson, CEO, Port Tampa Bay

Len Brown, Executive Vice President & Chief Legal Officer, PGA Tour, Inc.

Monesia Brown, Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations, Walmart

Matthew Caldwell, President & CEO, Florida Panthers Hockey Club

Walter Carpenter, Chairman, NFIB Florida Leadership Council

Blake Casper, CEO, Caspers Company

Jose Cil, CEO, Restaurant Brands International

Tom Crowley, CEO, Crowley Maritime Corporation

AJ de Moya, Vice President & General Manager, The de Moya Group, Inc.

Bob Flowers, President, C.W. Roberts Contracting, Inc.

Maury Gallagher Jr., Chairman & CEO, Allegiant Air

Glen Gilzean, President & CEO, Central Florida Urban League

Philip Goldfarb, President & COO, Fontainebleau Miami Beach

Chad Harrod, CEO, Harrod Properties, Inc.

Cody Kahn, Owner, Holiday Inn Resort

Rob Kornahrens, President & CEO, Advanced Roofing and Green Technologies

Gary Lester, Vice President, The Villages for Community Relations

Collier Merrill, President, Merrill Land Company

Dev Motwani, President & CEO, Merrimac Ventures

Tim Petrillo, Co-Founder & CEO, The Restaurant People

Rick Sasso, President & CEO, MSC Cruises

Amy Schwartz, Owner, Bella Bella Restaurant

Ken Stiles, CEO, Stiles Corporation

Sheldon Suga, Chairman, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association

John Tolbert, President & Managing Director, Boca Resort and Club

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].

One comment

  • John

    April 21, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    What no one representing FLorida farmers? Gary Lester, Vice President, The Villages for Community Relations…no one in the Villages is working, what a waste or is it a joke on the rest of us? DeSantis is a partisan hack to the end.

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