DeSantis Lifts Restrictions On Youth Activities Across Florida

May 22, 2020
Originally published on May 22, 2020 2:51 pm

Youth sports and summer camps will be free to continue operations, after a Friday morning announcement from Gov. DeSantis lifting all restrictions on the activities effective immediately. 

“We believe that this is what makes sense based on the data and observed experience,” DeSantis said. “We are not going to be instituting a lot of rules, or really any rules.” 

It will be up for local governments to decide if they want to add any required guidelines for camps and youth activity organizations to implement. 

DeSantis said he’s seen other states implement too many rules for reopening these activities.

“I've seen other jurisdictions, other states do like 100 rules for like, how to pick up a tennis ball and all this and it's like, when you do that and you overcook it, you end up getting less compliance with it, because people just throw up their hands and say ‘some of this is ridiculous,’” DeSantis said. 

Related: Coronavirus Q & A, including list of testing sites

DeSantis said his office came to the decision based on state data, pointing to the fact that no one in the state under the age of 25 has died. 

“The data is pretty clear that for whatever reason, kids don't seem to get infected at the same rates that some other adults get infected,” DeSantis said. 

DeSantis also highlighted daycares, as they were deemed essential businesses in the state and weren’t mandated to close. He noted that there weren’t any “major problems” at the facilities. 

The Gov. made the announcement in Jacksonville, at a basketball gym in Ed Austin Regional Park. Mayor Lenny Curry joined him. 

“We got to be smart about this,” Curry said. “We got to let kids be kids and we got to get back to a sense of this economy functioning.”

Dr. Bonnie White, a pediatrician for Ascension St. Vincents, said it’s essential for kids to start getting out of the house and exercising again. 

“We're seeing lots of kids coming in with anxiety issues and depression, and I think that's because they've been isolating themselves,” White said. 

White also said that kids have been falling behind on vaccines because parents don’t want to bring kids to the pediatrician as often. She called for parents to bring their children back to the doctor’s office. 

Asked about the suspected COVID-19-linked syndrome that has hospitalized children at Wolfsons Children’s Hospital,  White said the probability of kids contracting the illness is “extremely rare.” 

DeSantis said even though it’s rare, it’s a factor parents should consider. 

Asked about unemployment, the governor said the state has doled out about $2.8 billion in the last 10 weeks, more than the last five years combined.

Numbers released Thursday show Florida’s April unemployment had surged to 12.9%. DeSantis said it’s key to get people back to work quickly. 

“I'd like to see the economy bounce back as quickly as possible,” DeSantis said. But I also know, it's just not that simple.”

Sky Lebron can be reached at slebron@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @SkylerLebron.

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