MIAMI, Fla. – All along, Gov. Ron DeSantis said he was taking his cues from the CDC and the Trump administration. And with the change of tone in the White House, so too is the change in tone from the governor.
On Wednesday, DeSantis issued a statewide stay-at-home order — a reversal of course that surprised a lot of people, including county emergency managers.
“When the president did the 30-day extension [of coronavirus guidelines], to me that was [a sign] that people aren’t just going to go back to work," DeSantis said. “That’s a national pause button.”
Federal and local pressure had mounted for DeSantis to abandon the county-by-county approach he had implemented.
His new order, which goes into effect at midnight Wednesday and runs for at least 30 days, extends the scope of the stay-at-home order DeSanits had put in place Monday for Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe Counties after South Florida emerged as the state’s epicenter for the virus.
People are still allowed to leave home for essential reasons, a list the governor said could change.
“It took entirely too long ... still does not close all public beaches and contains needless loopholes for groups to gather at religious institutions,” U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said of DeSantis’ order in a statement.
The governor’s move Wednesday came hours after the U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Jerome Adams, said on NBC’s “Today” show that he would tell DeSantis that the federal guidelines for social distancing should be viewed as “a national stay-at-home order.”
DeSantis maintained that the onus is on residents of the state to make smart decisions as the virus spreads.
“At some point, you do need to just exercise good judgment,” he said. “The government can’t ham-fist everybody into their bedroom.”
Watch DeSantis’ press briefing below: