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South Florida lawmakers ask Gov. Ron DeSantis for statewide shutdown

Governor calls stay-at-home order 'inappropriate'
Map of Florida on coronavirus background
Posted at 12:36 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 19:18:19-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Passionate calls are growing from local lawmakers who want Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue a statewide stay-at-home order to reduce the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Delray Beach Mayor Shelly Petrolia took to Facebook on Wednesday morning writing:

"As confirmed COVID-19 cases climb in Florida, the Governor should mandate state shut down. It will reduce the spread, flatten the curve, shorten the overall duration of confinement and most importantly, it will SAVE LIVES!!"

According to the latest city-by-city numbers from the Florida Department of Health, Delray Beach has 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.

Boca Raton and West Palm Beach lead Palm Beach County with 18 cases each.


Several members of Congress who represent Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties sent a letter to Gov. DeSantis on Wednesday, urging him to immediately issue a statewide stay-at-home order.

The letter reads, in part:

"To effectively slow COVID-19's spread, we are asking you to issue a shelter-in-place order for the entire state. The order should allow only travel for essential services like grocery stores and health care providers, and to and from the workplace for critical workers."

"I know the governor is worried about the economy. I am too, but we can take action now that will allow us to get through this without devastation and see our economy come roaring back faster," said U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, one of the authors of that letter. "We have to do everything we can to try to limit the spread in the way to do that is for people to stay home."

Despite those calls, Gov. DeSantis stressed on Wednesday that he has no plans to issue a statewide stay-at-home order, calling it "inappropriate."

"To order someone not to be able to earn a paycheck when them going to work is not going to have any effect on what we're doing with the virus, that is something that I think is inappropriate," the governor said at a news conference in Orlando.

DeSantis pointed out that many counties in Florida don't have any confirmed cases of COVID-19, including Okeechobee County.

The governor said that while he won't issue a statewide shutdown at this point, he supports any municipality in Florida that wants to enact its own stay-at-home order.

"You just gotta think it through," DeSantis said. "But I've supported the local things, and it's a more surgical approach."

Currently, Miami and Miami Beach, along with smaller municipalities in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, have issued stay-at-home orders for residents to keep them from spreading the virus.

For the latest information about coronavirus cases in Florida, click here.