Amid growing criticism, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has issued a statewide stay-at-home order Wednesday mandating all residents to stay at home during the coronavirus outbreak
“Even though there’s a lot of places in Florida with very low infection rates, it makes sense to make this move now,” DeSantis said at a press briefing Wednesday.
DeSantis added the CDC’s decision to extend its guidelines 30 more days convinced him to make the decision because it “clearly represents, effectively, a national pause.”
Residents will still be able to leave their homes for essential reasons. DeSantis said senior citizens should take special care to stay at home and follow social distancing guidelines. Florida currently has 6,955 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to data compiled by the state.
DeSantis made the order days after photos and videos shared on Twitter showed large crowds ignoring the advice of medical experts and gathering on the beaches in the state. After the pictures went viral this weekend, officials announced Monday that St. Johns County beaches would be closed for the foreseeable future.
“We have taken as many measures as possible up to this point to preserve our residents’ ability to access their beach. Unfortunately, those visiting the beach continue to ignore CDC guidelines regarding crowd size and personal distancing. In order to maintain public safety and respect the State of Florida’s Executive Order, we had no choice but to close the coastline to public access today,” Hunter S. Conrad, St. Johns County Administrator, said in a statement.
Other areas, however, remained open Sunday for beachgoers to ignore regulations. Officials in hotspot locations like Miami have ordered those residents to stay home. DeSantis has held on tight to his intention not to issue a stay-at-home order for the state or a mandate for all beaches to close.
Coronavirus cases in Florida rose from to 4,950 people on Sunday to more than 7,000 Wednesday morning. Numbers are expected to skyrocket over the next two weeks.
The coronavirus has taken on a more serious tone in recent days as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has predicted more than 200,000 deaths. The Federal Reserve has also predicted more than 47 million could be unemployed by the end of the summer.