Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., told Fox News on Sunday that “spring breakers have forced the shutdown” of beaches in Florida.
Speaking via Skype on “Fox & Friends Weekend” Scott, who is in self-quarantine, made the comment as beaches and hotels in the Florida Keys are expected to officially close to control the spread of the coronavirus.
Monroe County announced that starting at 6 p.m. on Sunday, any hotel or visitor lodging site in the Florida Keys will have to shut down, Fox 13 reported, adding that the mandate will be in effect for 14 days, but could be extended.
The mandate applies to all visitors and all non-essential personnel who are not working in the Keys. County officials will reevaluate the ban every day.
Many of the state’s beaches, including those in Miami-Dade County, have been ordered to close after images of rowdy spring break college crowds surfaced amid the rising global death toll, which surpassed 13,400 on Sunday, according to data compiled by Fox News.
There are currently 830 coronavirus cases in Florida with 13 deaths reported, according to The Florida Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard.
“I know a 62-year-old male in good health that is struggling for his life right now so we have got to take this seriously,” Scott said on Sunday.
He added that “we also have to have hope.”
“We have got to social distance, don't leave your home if you don't have to,” he said. “We’ve got to put a moratorium on all of our financial transactions so that people can get comfort here. Don't have to pay the mortgage, credit cards, things like that, utilities.”
He added that “We need to shut down air travel” and “we need to make sure doctors have all the medicines they want.”
Scott is in self-quarantine after he had introduced Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, whose aide tested positive for COVID-19, during an investment conference earlier this month. Scott reported that he is feeling fine after interacting with multiple individuals who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
“If you test positive, you have got to be quarantined. We need to enforce it,” Scott said, adding that if people follow the guidelines “maybe, hopefully, in a very short period of time we can get past this, so we can open up the restaurants, do air travel, do our vacations we want to take, but we have got to get this behind us. We're killing our economy right now.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is set to meet Sunday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to discuss a relief package expected to top $1 trillion.
When asked what he thinks is holding up the process Scott said, “Clearly Democrats are holding it up.”
“The Republicans have been trying to get something together,” he said. “Mitch McConnell has been working hard to get things together.”
He then went to lay out his focus.
“One, let's keep remembering the problem here, we will have the best stimuluses control this virus, that’s No. 1,” he said. “No. 2, we have to be fiscally responsible. No. 3, focus on the people that are impacted, hourly workers, the tip workers, the small businesses that are poof, gone out of business and we don't need to be doing bailouts of big companies.”
“Let's focus on who needs help and let's direct the money as much as possible to them and don't put mandates on businesses that are going to kill their ability to reopen,” he continued.
He added, “I don't believe that we ought to be doing big business bailouts.”
He stressed that the focus needs to be on “how do we stop the virus, how do we reopen and how do we help people right away?”
Fox News’ Sam Dorman and Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.