TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Thirteen Florida lawmakers penned an open letter on Tuesday urging Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue a stay-at-home order for the entire state.
The letter comes days after Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned that Americans will most likely have to continue social distancing and stay inside for several weeks to stop the spread of coronavirus.
DeSantis announced earlier this week that he would be issuing a “safer-at-home” order for residents in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties. The order restricts groups and travel except for when doing certain activities deemed “essential.”
But some members of Congress say that is not enough.
“We appreciate your recent announcement that you will be issuing a “safer-at-home” order for the southern portion of the state,” the letter reads. “However, given that there are over 5,000 positive cases of COVID-19 in Florida, with the Department of Health reporting 523 new positive cases on Sunday, this order should be applied to the entire state immediately in order to effectively slow the spread of COVID-19.”
“This pandemic has not respected global borders so it certainly will not respect county borders,” the letter continued. “We cannot wait, and we cannot leave this decision to county and municipal governments. We urge you to immediately issue a statewide stay-at-home order to save lives.”
The letter was signed by Democratic Representatives Lois Frankel (FL-21), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Val B. Demings (FL-10), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Al Lawson, Jr. (FL-5), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26), Stephanie Murphy (FL-7), Donna Shalala (FL-27), Darren Soto (FL-9), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), and Frederica Wilson (FL-24).
At least 30 states have stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders in effect.
DeSantis said he hasn’t issued a statewide stay-at-home order, partly because the White House hasn’t advised it.
“I’m in contact with them, and, basically, I’ve said, ‘Are you guys recommending this?’” DeSantis said at a press conference Tuesday. “The task force has not recommended that to me. Obviously, if they do, that is something that would carry a lot of weight with me.”
Experts have been urging the public to adhere to health officials directives to stay at home, saying it is crucial in slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“Staying at home in this urgent moment is our best defense to turn the tide against COVID-19,” states the joint letter from the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and American Nurses Association. “Physicians, nurses and health care workers are staying at work for you. Please stay at home for us.”
More than 6,700 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Florida, and 85 people in the state have died.
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