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Joe Gruters praises Ron DeSantis’ phased approach for reopening Florida

Commerce Chair, state GOP leader says the Governor saved lives.

Sen Joe Gruters praised a plan unveiled by Gov. Ron DeSantis to bring Florida business back online. The Sarasota Republican also lauded actions taken at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic to protect Florida’s elderly.

“The Governor has been measured and steady throughout this ordeal,” said Gruters.

The Sarasota Republican and chair for the Republican Party of Florida has been a reliable defender of DeSantis through the pandemic. That included urging party leaders across the state to submit op-eds in local media about the Governor’s performance.

Gruters also serves as Senate Commerce Committee chair, and so had a strong interest in the economic consequences. He praised the phased approach that will begin Monday in restoring nonessential business.

“He is continuing on his measured and step-by-step approach,” Gruters said, “and Florida will come back stronger than ever because we are resilient.”

But Gruters, who represents a region rich in retirees, also made clear the measures taken by the state to protect citizens from a spreading pandemic were necessary.

DeSantis said he’s not ready to lift restrictions on visitation to nursing homes. Gruters said those restrictions have been critical in limiting outbreaks in nursing homes.

Still, the Department of Health has reported 394 deaths among residents or staff at long-care facilities statewide. That includes 21 deaths in Sarasota County and 7 in Charlotte County, parts of which are in Gruters’ Senate District.

But Florida hasn’t seen a problem with hospitals, and DeSantis has stressed — even in the regions of the state with the most hospitalized with COVID-19 — the hospitals are far from capacity.

Gruters also said the Governor’s actions helped ensure Florida hospitals were never overwhelmed at levels experienced in hot spots like New York.

“He has saved lives and has ensured that we had capacity in our hospitals,” Gruters said.

“We took early and strong action at our nursing homes and as a result probably saved thousands of people.”

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at

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Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
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