It is May 1st and so much has happened since the last Ebrief and unfortunately so much is still unknown. I hope everyone is safe and healthy!
On Wednesday April 29th the Governor announced that effective May 4th Florida will move into Phase 1 of his “Safe, Smart, and Step by Step Plan” for recovery. Under this plan elective surgeries can resume statewide. The Governor closely followed the federal guidelines for reopening America. The Governor had set up a task force to look at how to safely reopen all sectors of the Florida economy and he took their report into consideration as well. Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties were not included in Phase 1 at their request.
The Governor was very focused on facts not fear to safely reopen Florida with the following steps:
1) Protect the vulnerable
2) Increase Testing
3) Promote social distancing
4) Support hospitals and protect healthcare workers
5) Prevent introduction from outside the state
It is felt that if this goes well the Governor will continue to slowly open up the economy and he will be constantly monitoring the data to see what can and cannot be done.
Obviously closing the state/nation down has created economic shock waves through every sector of the economy. (Although I do wish I had stock in Publix!)
The Democrats have asked the Secretary of State to formally poll the legislature to call for a Special Session. They want to address the Coronavirus pandemic, unemployment, Medicaid expansion, and elections. The poll is being done as they have the proper number to trigger the poll but there does not seem to be a legislative appetite for this amongst House and Senate leadership. I do not anticipate this effort to be successful. There may be a Special Session down the road to address budget shortfalls. The Governor still has not acted on the budget that was passed this Session.
It is an election year with many races on the ballot including the President. The Coronavirus has effectively shut down traditional fundraising but as the state opens back up so will the campaigning.
As I complete this Ebrief the Governor is holding a press conference in the panhandle. He is very optimistic on the studies that are coming back showing lower risk for infection especially if outside in the hot humid weather if one maintains social distancing. I think that is mostly the definition for Florida in the summer!
I truly hope this is accurate. Please stay safe, well, wash your hands, wear your masks, and stay as socially distanced as you can.
Alison Dudley, FRS Lobbyist