Florida to form task force to focus on reopening state, Gov. DeSantis says

'Time is of the essence,' governor says
Posted at 4:17 PM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 17:46:51-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is looking ahead at what it will take to reopen the state while also continuing to protect residents from the deadly coronavirus.

The governor announced Wednesday he's putting together a task force to oversee the "resurgence and reopening of Florida."

"Time is of the essence, and we want to make sure we're getting the best ideas possible," DeSantis said in Tallahassee.

The task force will be made up of elected officials, as well as leaders in the fields of business, education, and more.

"I'll be seeking advice and ideas on pretty much everything under the Sun," DeSantis said. "Small business, agriculture, restaurants, tourism, large events and conventions, recreation, international travel, K through 12, as well as higher education."

A sweeping "stay at home" order is in effect for the entire state of Florida until April 30.

It's unclear if that order will be extended, or if DeSantis will allow it to expire and begin to reopen various sectors of the state.

"There's a whole host of things that I think need to be done, and we want to get the best ideas that we can," the governor said.

When it comes to education, DeSantis said he may decide to extend online distance learning for the remainder of the school year for school districts across the state.

However, no official decision has been made yet.

"If the parents think it's safe, they would prefer kids in school, and I think that's true. But that's a contingency," DeSantis said. "I haven't made any decisions about anything."

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus | We're Open South Florida

According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are 22,511 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, including 596 deaths.