DeSantis: Restaurants will stay open and more vaccines are coming

370,000 Moderna vaccine shots could arrive in Florida next week, if approved

(Lynne Sladky, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke to reporters Tuesday afternoon from West Palm Beach, giving updates on COVID-19 vaccines and trumpeting that he has restaurants’ backs as Florida keeps them open during the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking on the second day that COVID-19 vaccines are being administered to healthcare workers in the state, DeSantis cited statistics that say the majority of infections occur in people’s homes, not restaurants.

“Let individuals make decisions on what they’re comfortable doing,” DeSantis said, vowing to keep restaurants open even if local leaders want to restrict them. “I think it’s unfair that if a politician wants to do something, they look at the restaurants. ... These folks [in the restaurant industry] really care about their customers and work really hard to keep them safe.”

The news conference took place at Okeechobee Steakhouse on Okeechobee Boulevard.

One of the restaurant owners said it has been a “game-changer” to him and his staff that DeSantis has allowed restaurants to operate when some states are being more restrictive.

Watch a replay of DeSantis’ news conference below:

Gov. Ron DeSantis is holding a news conference Tuesday afternoon from West Palm Beach.

Posted by WPLG Local 10 on Tuesday, December 15, 2020

DeSantis also spoke about the coronavirus vaccines being rolled out at five major hospital systems, saying they will be working to distribute shots to other hospitals in their respective areas. Jackson Memorial in Miami-Dade and Memorial Healthcare in Broward were among those hospital systems to get the first shipments of Pfizer’s vaccine this week.

He said it is expected that Moderna’s vaccine will be approved for emergency use by the end of Friday and that shots would ship to Florida over the weekend.

DeSantis said most major hospitals in the state will get the Moderna vaccine, with about 370,000 shots coming to Florida once approved and then another 162,000 to follow the week after that.

As for the Pfizer vaccine, an order is in for 205,000 more shots next week and 247,000 the week after, DeSantis said.