RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — Ideas surfaced Thursday after Governor Ron DeSantis announced he would form a task force aimed at finding the best ways to reopen businesses and society in the Sunshine State.
Governor DeSantis said the time had come with the slowing rise in number of new coronavirus cases.
“I am going to be putting together a task force for the resurgence and reopening of Florida,” said Governor DeSantis at his Wednesday briefing, adding he would tap into people in government, a wide range of businesses, and education.
“I want them to talk, I want them to come up with ideas very quickly, and that’s what we need,” said DeSantis. “Time is of the essence.”
“I think that soon, but not too soon, we can start opening some of these businesses where people congregate,” said Dave Adams, owner of Tormenter Fishing Products, based in Riviera Beach, a business heavily dependent on the mostly shuttered, tourism sector throughout the United States, even abroad.
Adams said he believes it is too early to resume inside dining or reopen vacation spots.
But Adams said he feels some places, where people naturally social distance, could reopen quickly, if not right away. Adams mentioned parks, golf courses, tennis courts, even beaches and boat ramps.
“(My business) would benefit very slightly from it,” said Adams. “But gas stations would be supplying gasoline, the boat washer would be having a boat to wash.”
As for concerns about gatherings at beaches, Adams suggested blocking off parking spaces.
“Put up signs that say 1000 feet or a $1,000 fine at the sandbars,” said Adams, “then post a (law enforcement) boat somewhere nearby.”
But what do the medical experts say about reopening businesses and easing distancing?
“If we’re waiting for a risk of zero, that’s never going to happen,” said long time infectious disease specialist Dr. Larry Bush, speaking at his Wellington office this week.
Dr. Bush said he’s encouraged by the slowing rise in cases and feels we could start relaxing social distancing in four to six weeks.
“We need to have what would be a statistically safe risk to start opening things,” said Dr. Bush. “The problem is you can’t really tell that now, because you don’t know exactly how many people an infected person treats until you can test a large number of people.”
DeSantis himself acknowledged regardless of the decisions governments make on reopening, ultimately each person has to decide what they feel comfortable doing, and when.