With Georgia and Tennessee having announced they would be opening up their respective state economies in the next 10 days, it was only a matter of time before Florida moved to open its all-but unraveled economy.
How is Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) going to reopen the state’s economy without running the risk of opening up shop too early, which could lead to more infections and deaths, or too late, which could spell economic collapse?
“We need to get the economy back in a safe way,” DeSantis said, and “give people [the] confidence they’re going to be able to participate in the economy.”
Actually, the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s President Mark Wilson said it best,” “Reopening Florida’s economy needs to be surgical.”
A gradual approach to opening up some aspects of the state’s economy appears to be the consensus among DeSantis Re-Open Florida Task Force, which convened for the first time on Monday.
But while ideas like opening parks and golf courses, marinas, and some restaurants were floated, there weren’t any definitive segments of the economy that task force members said would look to open first.
While Desantis’ Republican-leaning task force includes a number of business leaders and elected officials from across the state, the Florida Cabinet was also included in the group, except for Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D).
Fried and Florida Democrats were angry she was excluded from the task force.
Here are the members of DeSantis’ Reopen Florida Task Force:
- Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez, Lieutenant Governor of Florida
- Jimmy Patronis, Florida Chief Financial Officer
- Ashley Moody, Florida Attorney General
- President Bill Galvano, President, Florida Senate
- Speaker Jose Oliva, Speaker, Florida House of Representatives
- Senator Wilton Simpson, President-Designate, Florida Senate
- Representative Chris Sprowls, Speaker-Designate, Florida House of Representatives
- Commissioner Richard Corcoran, Commissioner of Education
- Jamal Sowell, President & CEO, Enterprise Florida, Inc.
- Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Mayor, Miami-Dade County
- Mayor Dale Holness, Mayor, Broward County
- Mayor 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
I wasn't asked to serve alongside my fellow Cabinet members on the #COVID19 task force, which has no voice on membership representing Florida’s $137 billion agriculture industry.
I hope @GovRonDeSantis will join my commitment to supporting our farmers and feeding our families.
— Commissioner Nikki Fried (@NikkiFriedFL) April 20, 2020
Florida’s economy will reopen, but the obvious question is when. It looks as if the ball is moving for a partial reopening in May. The latest COVID-19 cases number can be found here.