James Dickey

October 16, 2020


USF coronavirus tracking map - Tampa Bay Business Journal


On September 25th Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis, signed off on Florida moving to Phase 3 of their COVID- 19 relief  plan. This means that all bars, restaurants, and businesses are now able to return to maximum capacity. Also, DeSantis signed off on not fining people who aren’t wearing masks in public areas. Governor DeSantis believes the move will promote local business and seems to be unphased by the potential implications this transition will have on the people of Florida in regards to COVID-19. 

Despite Florida being a corona virus hot spot for most of the summer, the state had seen a decline in cases during most of September and hadn’t seen more than 3,000 cases in a single day since September 19, when it recorded 3,573 new cases. Yet, just days after the transition to phase 3 Florida is now averaging 2,500 new cases per day from their 700 in the weeks before. Most experts are now saying that this transition is premature and are projecting major upticks in cases and deaths from Florida. Florida already had one of the highest number of confirmed cases at 704,000 and one of the highest numbers of deaths at 14,000. 

 DeSantis’ order and overall response to the pandemic have been met with backlash as the coronavirus continues to spread statewide. Florida was one of the last states to order an at-home-state order, with DeSantis making the announcement April 1, when several other states had already implemented them in March. It has been proven that social distancing and avoiding contact with others greatly decreases the likelihood of contracting or transmitting the virus. So, obviously DeSantis decision to allow maximum capacity seems ill-timed because we are still in the midst of a global pandemic.

For comparison, states that are remaining at partial capacity are seeing new cases gradually decline. While Florida is seeing huge increases in new cases. It will be interesting to see what happens to Florida in the coming weeks, because experts are projecting huge increases and we are already seeing the effects of phase 3 just days after its incorporation.