Florida to remain in COVID-19 state of emergency for another 60 days on DeSantis’ order

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Over 365 days have passed since the coronavirus pandemic gripped the entire nation back in March 2020. And while many people who live outside of Florida refuse to believe the state was under a state of emergency at any point in time during this span, they would be shocked to learn it has been.

And it’s here to stay for at least another two months…

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced earlier this week that he had made the crucial decision to extend that state’s COVID-19 pandemic state of emergency for an additional 60 days.

The executive order released on Tuesday stated, “The impact of COVID-19 poses a continuing threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the State of Florida and its residents.”

However, despite extending the state of emergency for a bit longer, the tone has shifted ever so slightly to emphasize the state should “prepare to resume non-emergency operations.”

The order, which has been in place since the pandemic started, has allowed state agencies to coordinate with agencies at the federal level in regards to response. It also gives local governments the ability to respond on their own terms based on specific scenarios and positivity rates.

The decision comes as a bit of a surprise to many after months of Florida being hailed as “paradise during the pandemic.” Florida endured waves of unruly crowds in South Beach and on the west coast, as well as a spike in tourism at major theme parks like Disney. 

Many states have begun the rescinding process of the state of emergency orders by pulling back on public health orders such as masks in outdoor areas. The CDC also released an order earlier this week allowing fully vaccinated persons to congregate in small groups and conduct outdoor activities without a mask

Since the start of the new year, Florida has largely remained open to domestic travel, and almost every business within the state has resumed operations with a minimum of 50 percent capacity.

Cities and counties throughout the state have continued to enforce restrictions and mask mandates, but under DeSantis’ order, they can no longer hand out fines or other penalties. 

As of this moment, state officials have yet to outline a specific deadline for the state of emergency expiration. After the 60 days have ended, peak summer travel will likely be in full swing, which could affect the recovery process for the state. 

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