Democratic congressional delegation warns Governor against ‘rushed reopening’

Several members are releasing a letter to the Governor expressing their concerns.

Several Democratic members of Florida’s congressional delegation are warning Gov. Ron DeSantis against reopening the state before having sufficient control over the novel coronavirus.

Those members are releasing a letter to the Governor expressing their “grave concerns” over his plan for a phased reopening.

“While we fully recognize the tremendous burden placed on the economy by stay-at-home orders and closed businesses, we urge you to prioritize the health and safety of Floridians above all else,” the 10 members wrote.

“A rushed reopening may very well serve only to increase the human loss caused by an already historic public health crisis, as states moving forward with reopening are seeing increases in new COVID-19 cases.”

The letter was signed by Reps. Val Demings, Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings, Al Lawson, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Donna Shalala, Darren Soto, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson.

Those members warn that Florida’s confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to rise. But the rate of increase has slowed, as have the percentage of positive tests.

Democrats also warn that it’s still unclear whether the state has sufficient testing capacity which health experts caution is necessary to safely reopen.

“Florida is lacking essential tools that public health experts agree are critical to a safe reopening process: widespread testing, a robust contact tracing workforce, and supported isolation are interconnected pieces of the larger puzzle of reopening,” the members warned.

“Without all pieces in place, it is unacceptable to reopen the state and expose our population to increased risk of infection.”

The state has stepped up its efforts to increase testing. On Wednesday, the Governor announced the availability of antibody testing at sites in Miami-Dade County, Orange County and Jacksonville. The state is also backing mobile testing efforts aimed at nursing home facilities.

The Representatives did praise DeSantis’ decision to leave South Florida’s tri-county area out of the state’s Phase One reopening plan. But they questioned DeSantis’ broader approach during the outbreak, which largely left major decisions to local governments with some exceptions.

“You have, since the rise of this crisis, resisted the implementation of science-based and data-driven mitigation strategies and withheld valuable data from the public,” the letter continues.

“Florida is not an experiment and its residents are not case studies.”

The Governor has taken small steps to reopen the state by keeping many businesses closed where social distancing may be difficult. Other businesses, such as restaurants, must operate at 25% capacity.

The state and the nation are wrestling with how best to balance the health risks of the virus with the devastating economic impact of the widespread stay-at-home orders.

Those orders were largely installed to ensure hospitals were not overwhelmed at the start of the outbreak. With that goal met here in Florida — hospital capacity peaked at 60% to 70% in some of the hardest hit areas — the Governor has moved to allow some parts of the economy to come back online, albeit slowly.

Still, Democrats have been largely critical of the approach, warning the state could be hit with a second wave if proper protocols aren’t followed. The letter from the Democratic delegation asked the Governor to issue statements expounding on the state’s plan, including an update on personal protective equipment availability, guidance being issued regarding beaches and parks, and several other issues.

“We all want to reopen our economy and society as soon as possible, but we have to get this right,” Deutch added in a separate statement.

“We need a comprehensive strategy before moving forward. Unless we develop the public health tools and strategies to keep Floridians safe, the threat of COVID-19 could set our economy back even further.”

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].


  • StopTheKarping

    May 8, 2020 at 10:21 am

    The Democrats are very good at criticizing. What, pray tell, are their plans for re-opening. Nobody wants to see a rush to re-open that would endanger lives, but what are their plans? Do they want to wait until Hurricane season is over? Do they want to wait until there are no longer any businesses in Florida? I would like to hear their actual plans, not just the usual karping.

    • Ken

      May 11, 2020 at 2:43 pm

      Destroying lives & reputations is a long time specialty of the Democrats (ask Mike Flynn, Brett Kavanaugh and scores of others. Why Obama and Joe Biden weaponized federal agency’s like the IRS against conservative organizations? Or why the Obama Administration had the DOJ investigate ANY police officer shooting with an African Americans and in the process destroying their reputations & careers even tho they were found innocent? Lastly and most important….. why did Obama & Biden allow the FBI to investigate a Presidential candidate based on a bogus dossier paid for by the DNC ?….
      Many Americans protesting around the country firmly believe the Democrats would be more than willing to completely destroy the economy if it meant getting rid of President Trump. American citizens aren’t willing to sacrifice their homes, careers, jobs and businesses for another leftist attempt to remove a President.

      There is no moderate wing of the Democrat party. If you vote for Joe Biden, you are voting for Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren’s platform.. Joe will follow the radical left’s agenda (or Joe won’t get the support) of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Valerie Jarrett,. Rashida Talib, Stacy Abrams, Ayanna Pressley, Nancy Pelosi, Sheila Jackson Lee, Tom Perez, Maxine Waters, Al Green, and llhan Omar. This is the core of the socialists leftist wing of the Democrat party and they are firmly in charge.. Most or all have already endorsed Joe Biden, so he obviously has committed to their leftist agenda.

  • morstar

    May 8, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    The answer to those questions from StopTheKarping is that the Democrats do have a plan. It is to destroy the Trump economy at all costs.

    The Federal Democrats are out of control. I heard Lois Frankel speak today. After she bashed the President she said that she didn’t want to be political. That means they trash talk and then claim the high road. Their plan is more dependence on government bailouts but stay at home because that will allow a mail in vote and we know how that will go. No ID’s of course.

    We need to finish off Pelosi and her ice cream cronies.

  • martin

    May 12, 2020 at 1:47 pm

    Have any of these Democrats actually held an honest job, even if for one day in their life? Where should we begin? Hastings–a disgraced and disbarred judge. Frankle–worked a short period of time for an ambulance chasing law firm, then transitioned into a career politician. Wasserman-Shultz; should have been forced to retire from public office following her disgraceful past as the head of the DNC. Shalala; a clinton flunky who used this to leverage her way into a job as president of the nuiv. of miami–look up how she dealt with underpaid custodians at UM during her tenure there. Wilson–a maxine waters wannabe.

    Between them they could not devise a plan to map a road trip between south florida and tallahassee.

Comments are closed.


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