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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis repeated Wednesday that a statewide stay-at-home order in Florida would be “inappropriate,” and he had no plans to enact such a policy.
DeSantis said that certain coronavirus hotspots throughout the state had issued stay-at-home orders, but to issue a sweeping order across the sunshine state would have dire consequences.
"There's certain parts of the state where you have more sporadic cases," the governor said at Florida's Logistics Response Center in Orlando. "To order someone not to be able to earn a paycheck when them going to work is not going to have any effect on what we're doing with the virus, that is something that I think is inappropriate.
“South Florida is basically down to essential businesses, everyone else is staying at home. I know here in Central Florida they've done something similar,” the governor continued. “We have other parts of the state, where you still have just sporadic cases, and we still do the containment measures, and we still do other mitigations. But that approach will be different.”
Currently, Miami and Miami Beach, along with other municipalities in Miami-Dade County, have issued stay-at-home orders to keep residents from spreading the virus.
DeSantis pointed to the problems sweeping lockdowns in other states had caused for Florida. He pointed to New York’s statewide stay-at-home order, and how thousands of residents who fled New York City, which he called the new “epicenter worldwide,” came to Florida. “This makes it more difficult when you have more people flooding in, when they were given a stay-at-home, shelter-in-place order,” said DeSantis, pointing to an uptick in inbound flight data after New York’s order was announced.
DeSantis ordered that anyone coming to Florida from the New York tri-state area within the past three weeks must self-quarantine for two weeks, punishable by a $500 fine or up to 60 days in jail.
"You look at California, they were ordered not to go to work. So you look, they're out partying, they're at beaches and stuff. You're probably less dangerous driving your car to the office then being with crowds of hundreds of people. So you just gotta think it through," DeSantis said.
Many of Florida’s beaches, including those in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County, were forced to close after images circulated of rowdy college students on spring break at the beach, ignoring social distancing directives.
DeSantis urged anyone in the state of Florida who is over 65 or has underlying conditions to stay at home for at least two weeks.
With at least 1,467 Covid-19 cases in the state and 23 deaths in his state, DeSantis has been taking heat for his Trump-aligned approach to tackling the virus, particularly from Democrats.
"While other large states continue to take strong, urgent, and sweeping action to stop the spread of COVID-19, Florida has not," Democratic primary frontrunner and former vice president, Joe Biden, said in a statement Wednesday. "I urge Governor DeSantis to let the experts speak to the public and explain why this is the case."
“That is the dumbest s--- I have heard in a long time,” state Sen. Oscar Braynon (D-Miami Gardens) told Politico. “This is a day-by-day crisis. Italy damn near saw 1,000 people die in one day, and there are people proclaiming we got this and have it solved in 15 days?”
On Sunday, the Miami Herald editorial board published an op-ed urging DeSantis to “act like you give a damn” and saying he is “working overtime to preserve our status as the world’s leading exporter of political comedy.” It urged him to look to the governors of New York, California and Connecticut for advice on taking “decisive actions.”
By Wednesday, 17 states will have stay-at-home orders in full effect, and more than 50 percent of the U.S. population will officially be urged to remain in their homes.
Fox News' Heather Lacy contributed to this report.