TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida has the least amount of COVID-19 restrictions among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, a new report found.
In a recently-released study, Wallethub researchers explored 18 relevant metrics of coronavirus-related restrictions. The restrictions included mask requirements, travel restrictions, school reopening plans and the reopening of bars and restaurants, among other things.
In two key categories — workplace temperature screenings and reopening of child care facilities— Florida ranked No. 1, meaning it had the least restrictions.
Florida is currently among a handful of states without so much as a recommendation for workplace temperature screenings, let alone a requirement.
Florida child care facilities, which are private institutions that have been following the lead of the Florida Department of Health, have remained open throughout the pandemic. Gov. Ron DeSantis stated in March that closure of those facilities could cause more of a burden on parents.
“I have not had the public health people come to me and say, you need to do this to protect public health,” DeSantis said. “That’s just not something that’s been presented to me as being, as something that would be necessary at this point, and I also think it would create a huge amount of issues.”
Many child care facilities, however, have taken their own additional precautions with cleaning procedures and trying to distance children as much as possible.
The state also ranked No. 2 for having some of the fewest restrictions of large gatherings across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Florida did have the most restrictions in the country when it involved travelers coming from out of state.
Gov. DeSantis has been widely criticized for his reopening plan – which began in May – and his insistence on resuming in-person classes, which he recently compared to Walmart.
“If fast food and Walmart and Home Depot — and, look, I do all that, so I’m not looking down on it — but if all that is essential, then educating our kids is absolutely essential,” DeSantis said.
As of July 21, more than 3.8 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the U.S. Florida claims 360,394 of those — the third-highest number of cases, just behind New York and California.
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