coronavirus

Florida Gov. Appoints 22 to Task Force on Reopening State’s Economy

Lawmakers, business leaders to meet daily by phone all week

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed nearly two dozen lawmakers and business leaders to form a task force to work on re-opening the state's economy.

The task force announced Monday includes:

• Jeanette Nuñez, Lieutenant Governor of Florida
• Jimmy Patronis, Florida Chief Financial Officer
• Ashley Moody, Florida Attorney General
• Bill Galvano, President, Florida Senate
• Jose Oliva, Speaker, Florida House of Representatives
• Sen. Wilton Simpson, President-Designate, Florida Senate
• Rep. Chris Sprowls, Speaker-Designate, Florida House of Representatives
• Richard Corcoran, Commissioner of Education
• Jamal Sowell, President & CEO, Enterprise Florida, Inc.
• Carlos Gimenez, Mayor, Miami-Dade County
• Dale Holness, Mayor, Broward County
• David Kerner, Mayor, Palm Beach County
• John Couris, President & CEO, Tampa General Hospital
• Josh D’Amaro, President, Walt Disney World Resort
• Todd Jones, CEO, Publix Super Markets
• Syd Kitson, Chairman, Board of Governors for the State University System

• Paul Reilly, Chairman & CEO, Raymond James Financial
• Alex Sanchez, President & CEO, Florida Bankers Association
• Eric Silagy, President & CEO, Florida Power & Light Company
• John Sprouls, CEO, Universal Orlando Resort, Executive Vice President, Universal Parks & Resorts
• Patrick Sunderlin, Vice President, Global Supply Chain, Lockheed Martin Corporation
• Joe York, President, AT&T Florida and Caribbean

DeSantis said the task force would create short, medium and long-term recommendations for reopening the state after weeks of shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

DeSantis told the committee they will meet daily by phone through Friday, when he hopes they will have recommendations they can present. There will also be subcommittees that will report to the executive committee.

The state's largest economic sector, tourism, has crashed and most of its largest employers have shut down because of the crisis, including the theme parks and cruise lines. Restaurants have been limited to takeout and delivery and nightclubs have been closed. More than 650,000 workers have filed unemployment claims since March 15, according to the state.

DeSantis told the committee the state will reopen in stages and not all at once. He said a key will be the ability to test workers for the disease and get quick, accurate results.

“If you have somebody in a business and they get tested and you get results in six days, that's not efficient and effective,” he said.

The Florida Democratic Party criticized DeSantis' selections, saying it is the “expected cadre of donors and DeSantis loyalists.” It also blasted him for not appointing Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the only Democrat elected statewide, while including the two Republican members of the cabinet, Attorney General Ashley Moody and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis.

“Fried oversees the second largest economic driver in the state and she should have a seat at the table,” party chair Terrie Rizzo said in a statement.

NBC 6 and AP
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