Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested Thursday that Florida may be inching toward a Phase 3 reopening.
Speaking to reporters from the Space Coast, the Governor raised the possibility after unveiling a new VISIT FLORIDA tourism campaign. The $13 million campaign is designed jumpstart Florida’s stalled tourism industry.
“We got to just be a little bit more dynamic,” DeSantis said. “Some of those rigid phases were done in April. We’ve learned a lot since then. In this part of Florida, there’s not a whole lot that folks – I think they can do pretty much do whatever they need to.”
Florida, at a time, was one of the most heavily impacted states in the country. In recent weeks, however, COVID-19 testing data – which the Governor expresses skepticism toward – has suggested the region is improving.
State health officials reported 2,402 COVID-19 cases and 128 resident deaths on Wednesday, a significant improvement from weeks past. Additionally, Florida’s daily positive tests and daily positivity rate are also declining. Wednesday’s rate was 5.6%, down slightly from Monday’s 5.7%. The average seven-day positivity rate is 5.5%
Monday, notably, marked the COVID-19 pandemic’s sixth-month mark.
“We’re going to look at some certain sectors in hospitality, particularly like restaurant and bars about how to do that,” DeSantis added. “My sense is some of these rigid capacity requirements probably aren’t necessary at this point. I think people understand how to distance, how to do different things.”
The Governor also pointed to Central Florida, where Disney and Universal have managed to relaunch without an impact to the state’s COVID-19 cases. He suggested the theme parks could safety accommodate more guests.
“I think it just shows that you can do these things,” DeSantis said. “You can put people back to work and keep society strong.”
Tourism in 2019 accounted for more than 1.5 million jobs and $91 billion in revenue. In the second quarter of 2020, however, Florida visitation has spiraled by more than 60%.
This article first appeared at Florida Politics.
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