Florida lawmakers have reached an agreement for additional funding to the Department of Health to fight the coronavirus.
It comes as the state is ramping up its emergency operations center.
A good part of the Governor’s day was spent meeting about the coronavirus. Four floors up the Senate began its day with a prayer that included fighting the virus.
“We invoke your mercy on all the citizens of our great state to be saved from calamities that come to the world,” said Rabbi Schneur Oirechman.
Lawmakers originally offered between ten and twenty million last week to fight the coronavirus. Governor DeSantis asked for $25 million.
He’s getting it with no strings attached.
“To use as he sees fit. Now this may involve mitigation strategies. It may involve containment. It may involve other things, because as this epidemic continues to evolve, the way we continue to respond to it evolves as well,” said Rep. Cary Pigman.
And the door is open for more money if needed.
“The governor has the ability to declare an emergency, and he’s able to access a lot more money,” said Senator Aaron Bean.
Governor DeSantis has activated the emergency operations center to a level two which is the same level he would activate it to if there were a hurricane about a week away.
Now lawmakers are working on a contingency plan to come back if the virus slows tourism, which is a $6 billion tax source for state government.
“Given what’s going on with travel, and the cruise industry, it would not take much for us to get a general revenue hit that would force us back into a special session to adjust the budget,” said Senator Tom Lee.
The state is now asking anyone who traveled overseas to follow new CDC guidelines. Florida universities issued the same 14-day self-isolate edict for students and faculty last week.