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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis urges sick people to stay home, avoid large gatherings

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Posted at 3:03 PM, Mar 16, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will likely make a recommendation on Tuesday about putting restrictions on restaurants to stop the spread of the coronavirus in Florida.

Speaking at the Florida Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee on Monday, the governor said his office just received new guidance from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention with regards to limiting large crowds.

"I think what we would likely do is issue kind of a basic guidance for restaurants, and then allow localities to tailor that more or less based on their circumstances," said DeSantis. "We're gonna work through that now that we have this guidance, look at it and see."

DeSantis added that putting restrictions on bars, nightclubs, or bars that serve food would be hard to justify.

"We're gonna deal with that and probably come out with something tomorrow morning," DeSantis said.

In addition, the governor said the key guidance the state continues to receive from the CDC is for the elderly and people with significant medical conditions to avoid crowded gatherings and stay home.

"If you end up not feeling well, stay home from work, get better, but don't go to work if you're sick," said DeSantis.

Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump urged Americans to limit gatherings to 10 people or less to reduce the spread of germs.

The governor said Congress has a responsibility to provide help to people who can't go to work because of the coronavirus, or COVID-19.

"I think clearly there's a need to provide immediate relief for folks who may be dislocated as a result of what we're seeing right now with the economy, but then also to provide an incentive for people to stay home if they're sick," said Gov. DeSantis.

The governor added that the state government plans to offer assistance to small businesses who've had to adjust their operations because of the virus.

Small businesses in Florida who have between two and 100 employees can now apply for up to a $50,000 bridge loan, which would be for a one-year term at a zero percent fixed interest rate.

"We hope this is not something that affects the economy infinite, that it's relatively short," said DeSantis. "If you're in some of these industries that are really getting hit, you have a cash flow issue, particularly if you have tight margins. So this is a way to keep people afloat."

Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee said Tuesday's primary election will go on as planned.

"The Department of State is working closely with the Florida Department of Health, the CDC, and local Supervisors of Elections to ensure the safety and the well-being of all who are involved with tomorrow's election," said Lee.

If you have questions about voting in tomorrow's election, click here.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus

According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are 155 total coronavirus cases in Florida, including 137 Florida residents and 18 non-Florida residents who were diagnosed in the state.

RELATED: What's open, closed? | Interactive map of coronavirus cases in Florida

If you have questions about coronavirus in Florida, call the state's COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. The center is taking calls 24/7.