Late Thursday evening, 13 congressional democrats released a joint statement urging Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to close beaches statewide amid concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.
“Due to the rapidly accelerating spread of coronavirus, it is essential that Florida’s Governor use his power to immediately close access to all public beaches in the State of Florida," the statement read.
"Tourists and locals alike have shown that they will continue to visit our beaches in droves, so long as they remain open, despite the recommendations of local, state and federal health officials and the advice of public health experts. While this is no small request, eliminating access to beaches is an absolute necessity if we want to successfully slow the spread of the virus.”
The statement was released by the following U.S. representatives:
- Debbie Wasserman Shultz (FL-32)
- Alcee Hastings (FL-20)
- Kathy Castor (FL-14)
- Ted Deutch (FL-22)
- Frederica Wilson (FL-24)
- Lois Frankel (FL-21)
- Charlie Crist (FL-13)
- Val Demings (FL-10)
- Al Lawson (FL-5)
- Stephanie Murphy (FL-7)
- Darren Soto (FL-9)
- Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26)
- Donna Shalala (FL-27)
Earlier this week, DeSantis refused to close state beaches and instead signed an order that would limit parties on beaches to 10 people per group and force any restaurant to reduce occupancy by half.
At a press conference Tuesday, DeSantis said it's "not uniform throughout the state that you're seeing massive crowds at beaches," despite reports of large gatherings on Tampa Bay-area beaches.