Rob Bradley: How to smartly, safely reopen Florida for business

open for business 7.24
Safety and prosperity don’t have to be mutually exclusive.


Gov. Ron DeSantis’ data-driven approach to the COVID-19 pandemic has flattened the curve without imposing draconian measures on Floridians.

Because Floridians have done the right things, from social distancing to avoiding large gatherings, the dire predictions that Florida would become another Italy or New York were wrong.

Since DeSantis trusts Floridians to do the right thing, we flattened the curve without a “nanny state” micromanaging our every move.

This balanced approach worked to combat the spread of COVID-19. It will also work as we move to Phase 2 — reopening our economy.

DeSantis convened the Re-Open Florida Task Force last week to advise him on how to safely bring back our state’s thriving, job-creating economy.

As a member of the Task Force, I brought to the table my own personal experiences as a small-business owner as well as the hundreds of calls and suggestions I’ve received from constituents.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

Phase 2 must be guided by the principle that every job is “essential” to the person who needs it to support their family. We need to abandon the approach that “essential activities” are allowed and “nonessential activities” are not.

The test must be a simple one: can the activity be done safely? If the answer is yes, the activity should resume. The furniture store owner in Orange Park doesn’t understand why he’s forced to close while Home Depot is open. He’s right! Both should be open if proper protocols are followed.

With the “safety test” guiding us, small businesses can begin to reopen when basic, easy-to-follow safety protocols are met.

Also, there are three specific actions that I recommend the Governor take immediately:

— Allow hospitals and surgical centers to resume elective procedures. Mammograms are being delayed; surgeries to remove cancers are not happening. To prevent the second wave of non-COVID-19 health emergencies, we need to end the ban on these critical procedures. Hospitals have sufficient capacity to handle it.

— Allow dentists and other medical professionals, including mental health professionals, to fully practice as long as proper protocols are in place. Again, I am concerned about the health of all our citizens.

— Immediately open all parks and beaches as long as social distancing is practiced. We should encourage our citizens to get outside, walk and exercise, and enjoy the sunshine in a safe manner.

Since taking office, DeSantis’ pragmatic, common-sense approach to governing has yielded much bipartisan success.

On issues from protecting the environment to supporting teachers in education, he has boldly led our state.

As we face this generation-defining pandemic, I know the Governor will bring this levelheaded, balanced approach to the reopening of Florida. We will be back, sooner than anyone predicts, because Florida will chart its own course to recovery based on the Governor’s understanding that safety and prosperity don’t have to be mutually exclusive.


Sen. Rob Bradley represents Senate District 5 and serves as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Guest Author


  • Sonja Fitch

    April 27, 2020 at 6:44 am

    Test test. Use the high school with a built in feeder pattern. Tests slow down. Law of large numbers. Test test to give a fact based thought. Yes if it takes more than 24 hours to process will skew. But test test! Go slow. A vaccine is months and months away. Test.

    • Nate Greene

      April 27, 2020 at 2:33 pm

      Tests can render both false positives as well as negatives. This is not the boogie man. We were never going to experience the horrific death rates projected by the so-called experts and their models. Garbage in, garbage out. Herd immunity is essential to a healthy society and putting the countries citizens on house arrest was never the correct answer. I’m not even convinced that forcing business owners to wear masks in order to open their ‘non-essential ‘ businesses is even necessary. But I recognize that no politician at any level has that sort of courage despite what they might think personally.
      End the madness now please!

  • Nate Greene

    April 27, 2020 at 2:47 pm

    I’m not sure that I’d agree with the authors notion that by closing ALL non-essential businesses was/is a ‘balanced approach’. The governor in a mid-March presser clearly stated that he did not wish to take a blanket approach to the entire state. Many counties were experiencing little to no outbreaks at the time. But he was willing to work one-on-one with those counties or metro areas that were experiencing a potentially greater threat (Miami-Dade). Why institute a one size fits all approach when it’s probably not necessary?. Seemed to make sense to me. Then two weeks later he does a complete one eighty! I wrote and asked why but received no response.
    So now small business owners like myself remain on the sidelines hoping that the staged re-opening isn’t more prolonged pain.
    We cannot live our lives in fear or allow our basic rights and freedoms to be infringed every time there’s a new perceived ‘crisis’. Most if not all of these forced regulations are unconstitutional and immoral.

  • Charles Thomas Hutchins

    April 27, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    What a kiss ass article. Get real! It is hard to praise any one or group of public officials for opening the beaches with these ridiculous restrictions. Just let people do what ever they want so long as they follow social distancing…no congregating. Why in the world can’t I lay a blanket on the beach or have a chair to sit in? Then the bozos limit the hours. In St. Johns county it is restricted to 6am to noon…are they crazy! This only forces more people to go tho the beach at the same time rather than spreading the number of beach goers by letting them go 24/7. Is this more evidence that only stupid people can work as public officials and politicians? I think so. My God…Where is your “stupid” sign? If you find it, please hang it around your neck.

    With my mask and disinfectant, I went to Ace Hardware in Atlantic Beach, Jax. A bouncer at the door kept everyone 6 feet apart forming a line to enter. To control the number of shoppers in the store at any one time, someone had to come out before another could go in. You might think this would hurt their business, but you would be wrong! All 4 registers were constantly busy with customers. Any business owner will tell you that you can’t do better than that. In addition, they installed plexi-glass sneeze guards at the registers and sprayed a disinfectant on my hands after I punched in my credit cart debit number. I felt safe! “Ace is the place” or should I say.”Ace is Safe”.

    Why can’t all businesses be as conscience as Ace? Please take your “Stupid” sign off and start making common sense regulations for reopening businesses.

Comments are closed.


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