Gov. DeSantis Stays Quiet On COVID-19 Liability Issues

Jul 22, 2020
News Service of Florida

Twenty-one Republican governors sent a letter this week to congressional leaders arguing that businesses, health care workers and schools need lawsuit protections because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis did not sign on.

Congress is considering another COVID-19 relief package, and many Republicans contend that liability protections need to be part of any legislation that is ultimately passed and sent to President Donald Trump.


Doctors are warning that Miami is turning into the latest coronavirus epicenter in the country.

New York faced a similar challenge not too long ago. The city went into a lockdown as a surge of patients strained the hospital system.

Bahamas Tourism Ministry

This week the Bahamas is closing its doors to American tourists in an effort to keep the new coronavirus from spreading on its islands. But the decision is based not just on the explosion of COVID-19 cases in the United States – but a sudden spike in the Bahamas too.

Wilfredo Lee / AP

Some of Miami-Dade’s wealthiest private schools and publicly funded charter schools are benefiting from millions of federal dollars that are supposed to keep small businesses afloat during the pandemic.

The Paycheck Protection Program is supposed to help “small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll,” according to the Small Business Administration. In reality, big chains like Ruth’s Chris Steak House, which reported receiving $20 million, have benefited. Even the Los Angeles Lakers got approximately $4.6 million, which the team returned.

ROBERTO KOLTUN / El Nuevo Herald

The parent company of Southern supermarket chain Winn-Dixie said Monday that it is reversing its policy and will now require customers to wear masks at its stores to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Southeastern Grocers Inc. said the requirement will go into effect next Monday. The company had initially rejected a mask mandate, saying it did not want to put its workers in the position of having to ban customers.


This post will be updated today, Tuesday, July 21, and through the week with the latest information on COVID-19 in South Florida.

In these uncertain times, you can rely on WLRN to keep you current on local news and information. Your support is what keeps WLRN strong. Please become a member today. Donate Now. Thank you.

Matias J. Ocner / Miami Herald

To many of Miami’s hospitality workers, the racism and indifference portrayed in the video showing a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd until he died as three other officers watched felt familiar.

The largely Black and brown immigrant workforce that makes Miami’s tourism economy run was struggling to get by even before the COVID-19 pandemic torpedoed the industry. Long ago pushed out of Miami Beach due to exploding real estate prices, the workers have also seen wages stagnate.

Updated 5:20 p.m. ET

An experimental coronavirus vaccine triggered an immune response against COVID-19 in study participants, and it has only minor side effects, according to new data published in the medical journal The Lancet.

The vaccine, called AZD1222 for now, is being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. It uses a different, harmless virus to deliver biological instructions for how to fight off the coronavirus.

C.M. GUERRERO / Miami Herald

A Broward County public school teacher who spent three weeks on a ventilator in a medically-induced coma battling COVID-19 is among the plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging a state order to physically reopen schools to all students for five days a week starting next month.

The lawsuit filed Monday morning in Miami by the Florida Education Association, a statewide teachers’ union, argues the recent order from Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration is unconstitutional.


Florida Turnpike

TALLAHASSEE --- First came the damage to Florida’s tourism industry and all sorts of other businesses. And now, the state’s growth engine?

A panel of state economists last week released a report forecasting that Florida’s population growth will slow in the coming years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That doesn’t mean the U-Hauls will stop trucking down Interstate 75 and Interstate 95: Florida is still expected to see population increases over the next five years that will be like adding a city slightly larger than St. Petersburg each year.

Miami Herald


The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and the Palm Beach Research Center will launch phase three of clinical trials for potential COVID-19 vaccines by the beginning of August. The first vaccine candidate is from the biotech company Moderna.

Florida Department of Health

The Florida Department of Health reported 12,523 new COVID-19 cases across the state on Sunday, up from 10,274. And additional 87 Florida residents have died of the disease , the agency said in its latest report.

Wilfredo Lee / AP

Florida has reached a critical period as it faces the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic.

Health officials have recorded several days of record deaths. Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach counties make up about half the cases of the coronavirus in the state.

C.M. GUERRERO / Miami Herald

With the start of the school year looming next month, parents, teachers, and students wonder what to expect in a pandemic. School boards across the state are drawing up plans to welcome back students, but some educators and parents say it’s too soon.


Parents say they face an impossible choice — prepare to send their child back to a brick-and-mortar school, or try to educate them at home to protect them from coronavirus.

In Florida, hospitals are being stressed by the surge of coronavirus cases. Florida reported 11,466 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and 128 deaths of residents. It was the fourth day running the state saw more than 100 deaths.

The spike in cases is most acute in the Miami area. Miami-Dade County accounts for nearly a quarter of Florida's 327,241 cases.

On Friday, Miami-Dade County's daily "dashboard" report showed the number of patients admitted with COVID-19 at nearly 120% of intensive care unit capacity.