By Rep. Anthony Sabatini
It’s time for a return to normality in the Sunshine State.
Beginning this weekend, the Governors of Georgia and South Carolina—based on the most recent scientific data—are re-opening the economies of their States. Florida should safely follow our neighbor’s lead and do the same.
Like Georgia and South Carolina, Florida has passed the peak of COVID’s damage. According to models from The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Florida saw its peak in deaths on April 2 and its peak hospital resource usage on April 14. Like Georgia and South Carolina, we are on the downward trajectory of the fight against COVID. And it is time to respond to these facts appropriately.
Instead of sitting around for an indefinite period awaiting total COVID elimination—while our economy lays in shambles—we should begin the process of re-opening as soon as possible. The curve of the virus has been flattened and now it is time to do what’s right.
Florida should open all business establishments, including all retail and restaurants this weekend and people should be trusted to exercise the personal responsibility and social distancing that they have already been doing successfully. Business owners should of course be required to follow CDC guidelines. Those who are elderly and those with pre-existing medical issues should remain at home. But the rest of us should return to work.
Each day Florida remains closed is another day that irreparable harm is caused to the working people of our State; small family-owned businesses lost forever. Each hour we remain shutdown furthers the massive blow to our state economy—not to mention the psychological damage that self-isolation has wrought.
Floridians want to work. I receive hundreds of questions from constituents asking when they can return to the workplace, and they are growing restless. Florida has long had a vibrant economy that has attracted people and capital from around the nation. We should again lead the nation by leading in the restoration of the post-COVID economy. The only way to do so is by opening up for business.
Despite the Congress borrowing $2.4 trillion dollars in the last few weeks to “stimulate” the economy, our economy will not work until we begin to work; it won’t move until we move. No act of appropriation will restart this economy until the restrictions on work and movement are lifted.
Now is the time.
Anthony Sabatini is a State Representative in the Florida Legislature and a member of the Florida National Guard