Governor Ron DeSantis’ COVID Response:
Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step.
Plan for Florida’s Recovery
May 26, 2020
A NOTE FROM CHAIRMAN JOE GRUTERS:
Last week, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the Republican Party of Florida intervened in a radical lawsuit that Democrats filed in Florida as part of their nationwide assault on the integrity of our elections.This case is a prime example of Democrats and their liberal allies seeking to exploit coronavirus as an excuse to attack popular election integrity measures by asking judges to legislate from the bench. Democrats sued Florida and all 67 of its county supervisors of elections, demanding they willfully ignore and violate Florida election law by prohibiting enforcement of the state’s ban on ballot harvesting and by allowing ballots to be counted after Election Day. I issued the following statement and will continue to keep you — our members and supporters — apprised.
“Once again national Democrats are coming into Florida trying to change our election laws by judicial fiat right before the 2020 election in an attempt to steal as many votes as possible in President Trump’s home state. We will do whatever we can to defeat this partisan lawsuit and ensure that every eligible voter in Florida has the opportunity to vote safely and securely.”
This past weekend we also joined millions of Americans and reflected on Memorial Day — a time to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedom. We honor all those who courageously fought and died for our country.
Florida continues leading the way to America’s recovery under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis. Florida’s COVID-positivity rate continues on a downward trend despite an increase in overall testing which is allowing Florida businesses and families to move forward with the safe and phased re-opening of our economy and state.
Last week was action packed with both the Governor and First Lady Desantis sharing several announcements outlined below.
Expanded Walk-Up Testing Sites: Florida continues to expand testing – and has added 5 new walk-up sites located in Daytona Beach, North Lauderdale, Miramar, Opa-Locka and Sarasota. These sites support underserved communities and can test 200 individuals per day. To find a site near you, visit floridadisaster.org/covid19/testing-sites/.
Senior Meals: The Department of Elder Affairs continues providing thousands of meals to seniors. Working with the 11 Areas Agencies on Aging they provided over 428,000 meals throughout the state last week, including over 94,000 from the Restaurant Meal Initiative. The weekly meal delivery represents a 223% increase over a week of meals served pre-COVID19. DOEA’s restaurant meal initiative has served 312,850 meals through 83 participating restaurants over the span of one month.
Vacation Rentals: And some good news for Floridians, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation has received and approved the requests by 16 Florida counties to operate vacation rentals pursuant to the safety plan submitted by their respective County Administrator. For a list of those counties click here.
A Week in Review
Thursday, May 21: Governor DeSantis met with Vice President Mike Pence, CMS Administrator Seema Verma and U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia in Orlando to discussFlorida’s Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery. The Governor and Vice President delivered personal protective equipment (PPE) to Westminster Baldwin Park, a local long-term care facility and participated in an economic roundtable with state tourism and hospitality leaders. They also showed their support for local businesses and stopped to have lunch at Beth’s Burger Bar.
Gov. DeSantis also pushed back against false narratives, setting the record straight with the media about fake claims that were being circulated about the Florida Department of Health dashboard. You can watch the video HERE.
Tuesday, May 19th: Governor & First Lady DeSantis declared the month of May 2020 as Foster Care month in Florida. Despite COVID-19, foster families are demonstrating resilience, providing invaluable emotional support, and ensuring foster children and youth can safely connect with their biological families, as appropriate. Most are also overseeing distance learning, which was extended through the end of the school year – motivating the young people in their care to remain focused and achieve educational success.
“All children deserve a loving home. As we continue to navigate through this public health emergency, we can’t lose sight of that; we must keep our foster families and youth top of mind,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “Offer to drop off groceries at the front door or schedule a time to video chat – any kind gesture large or small can have a meaningful impact.”
Over 6,700 foster families have opened their hearts and homes to more than 8,150 children, with some committing to care for youth impacted by COVID-19.
Reemployment Assistance: Governor DeSantis held a press conference with Florida Department of Management Services Secretary Jonathan Satter and provided an update on Florida’s reemployment assistance program and the state’s COVID-19 testing efforts.
The state remains committed to getting eligible Floridians paid as quickly as possible. As of May 19th, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has paid 97.6% of eligible applicants and distributed more than $2.6 billion in reemployment assistance for Floridians. While more work remains to be done, it is important to highlight that DEO has paid out more in the last 10 weeks than it has in the last five years combined. The state’s ultimate goal is getting eligible Floridians paid as quickly as possible. DEO also launched an updated Florida’s Reemployment Assistance Claims Dashboard providing even more transparency and insight into Florida’s reemployment assistance process. To see the updated dashboard, visit: Floridajobs.org/raclaimsdashboard
Monday, May 18th: It was a busy Monday for the First Family, as Governor DeSantis traveled to Central Florida to announce the opening of the I-4/S.R. 408 Interchange Ramps three months ahead of schedule. This was as a result of Gov. DeSantis’ directive to accelerate work on the I-4 Ultimate project due to a decrease in the volume of traffic as a result of COVID-19.
DCF Emergency Grants: Also on Monday, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced that the Department of Children and Families had received a $1.9 million emergency grant to address behavioral health disorders resulting from the current public health emergency. The funding, awarded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, will provide crisis intervention services, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and other related recovery support for children and adults impacted by COVID-19.
Quote of the Week
“Because of the choices you’ve made, the truth is that we’ve stopped the spread, we’ve flattened the curve, we’ve saved lives,” Pence said in the opening moments of a roundtable discussion with Gov. Ron DeSantis and leaders of the state’s tourism industry at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando.
Gov. Memorial Day Message:
Ron Says ‘Enough’: DeSantis Rips Media:
Sean Hannity on the Florida Model:
Marco Rubio on Fox & Friends:
Graphics to Share
Follow Governor DeSantis on twitter and facebook as he shares daily case results:
What They Are Saying
Statements by Florida’s elected leaders regarding Governor’s Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery Full Phase 1 Plan which went into effect on May 18, 2020.
Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez said, “Today, under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, we are taking another important step towards prudently re-opening our state. Florida has not taken a one-size-fits-all approach and the numbers are showing a downward trend. The health and well-being of our residents remains our highest priority, and I am encouraged by the manner in which Floridians and businesses have come together throughout this pandemic. I’m grateful to be part of such an incredible undertaking and look forward to seeing the Sunshine State thrive once again.”
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “As we move to a Full Phase 1, I applaud Governor Ron DeSantis’s decisive yet guarded leadership. The fact-based approach Florida has followed throughout this crisis has withstood and outperformed speculation and projected models thus far. A Full Phase 1 of the Governor’s plan for Florida’s recovery should allow Floridians to begin to safely return to their communities and ways of life.”
Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said, “This step is wonderful for our hospitality, retail, and tourism industries while ensuring Floridians can get back to work safely. The effects of COVID-19 have forever changed our way of life, but step-by-step, I believe Floridians are excited see the state gradually reopen. As we move forward, I remain committed to addressing the revenue impacts this virus has had on Florida’s economy and working together towards protecting our state’s Triple-A bond rating and overall fiscal health. Thank you to Governor Ron DeSantis for his leadership in protecting the health and safety of our communities while deploying a measured re-open plan.”
Senate President Bill Galvano said, “This week Governor DeSantis has continued to advance his Safe, Smart, Step-By-Step Plan for Florida’s Recovery in a strategic and data-driven manner. Day after day, the Governor has demonstrated his commitment to reopening Florida as quickly as possible, while maintaining a focus on public safety as our number one priority. As we move into a Full Phase 1 Reopening on Monday, the small businesses our communities cherish, from gyms, to hair salons and barber shops, to favorite restaurants, are re-opening and implementing key safety protocols. Hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, doctor’s offices, and dental clinics are open and back to providing the routine medical appointments and screenings that keep Floridians healthy. Long term care facilities continue to take the steps needed to keep our elders safe, while at the same time making plans to re-open for visitors, which will mean so much to families across our state eager to reunite with their loved ones. Meanwhile, the Governor has made certain that testing efforts continue to ramp up across Florida, as we remain vigilant in containing the spread of this virus. As Floridians, we must each continue to do our part to ensure we keep up this great momentum.”
House Speaker José Oliva said, “I am encouraged by the Governor’s continued march towards normalcy for the entire state. Emergency Orders are meant to be limited and temporary. The Governor’s early and pinpointed actions directly mitigated the threat to the most vulnerable populations and undoubtedly saved lives. Governor DeSantis has been guided by the facts in this important step to recovery.”
Senate President-Designate Wilton Simpson said, “Governor DeSantis’ measured re-opening is the right approach to getting Florida’s economy back on track, while protecting the health and safety of Floridians. These incremental steps give us a chance to make sure we are continuing to flatten the curve as we work toward restoring our normal daily activities. We must all continue to do our part to follow health guidelines as we protect our most vulnerable family members, friends, and neighbors. These are challenging times, but I believe we will return to the prosperity our state experienced prior to COVID-19.”
House Speaker-Designate Chris Sprowls said, “Governor DeSantis continues to keep Florida on a steady path to recovery while being vigilant in protecting our public health. Amid all of the rhetoric and confusion, Florida has taken a fact-based, data-driven, outcome-oriented approach to managing this crisis. We can be cautious and responsible without being paralyzed or afraid.”
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State of Florida Resources
Want more information? Florida has been hailed as one of the most transparent states in the nation during the response to COVID-19. Here are the top resources accessible to all Floridians: