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Quarantine Routine is a regular feature that asks political power brokers how their daily lives have changed -- and how they're still doing their jobs -- during the coronavirus crisis.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., last month briefly went into self-quarantine after coming into contact with an individual who tested positive for the novel coronavirus at the Conservative Political Action Conference in late February.
Gaetz has since tested negative for COVID-19.
Now, the Republican is back in the Florida panhandle where he says the streets are empty and things are "eerie." But Gaetz says he's still working to connect his state's "needs with Trump administration officials," while also having more time to cook for himself -- something he doesn't usually get to do in Washington.
Gaetz described how his daily routine has changed in a Q & A with Fox News:
How has your daily routine changed since social distancing measures began?
Gaetz: Usually I wake up on a cot in my closet in the Longworth Office Building and proceed to shower with about 50 of my male colleagues. Now, I wake up in my own bed and shower alone.
What are the biggest challenges in doing your job during this crisis?
Gaetz: President Trump recently said at one of his briefings: "Florida, look, they’re very aggressive in trying to get things, and they’re doing a very good job."
This has been my daily focus -- connecting Florida’s needs with Trump administration officials who can respond quickly. I’m proud to be working alongside great public servants at the local, state and federal level -- though I never imagined I’d be doing so in response to a crazy Chinese Bat Virus when I ran for Congress. I’m a Floridian -- we do hurricanes.
My district is tourism-reliant and was just entering the busy season when reality suspended.
Hearing the pain and economic anxiety of so many of my friends, along with heartbreaking personal loss for others, has been challenging.
What do you miss the most about how you did your job before this began?
Gaetz: What I miss most about my daily routine is the Fox News DC green room. You can see anything there.
What surprised you most about how life has changed?
Gaetz: I’m surprised and thrilled at how compliant and cooperative everyone is being. Our streets are empty and our town centers eerie because people are correctly listening and staying home.
We may, as a society, be willing to get in fistfights over cheap TVs on Black Friday, but in the face of a pandemic, we are mostly seeing the best in people.
How do you blow off steam?
Gaetz: I blow off steam by cooking. I rarely get to cook since being elected given travel, the time of Sean Hannity’s show, and exhaustion. Now I cook everyday and I’ve even started posting some of my dishes to Instagram.
And, yes, the Left troll bots even hate my vegan pizza!