DeSantis task force looks for answers on reviving Florida’s economy

During a COVID-safe conference call, the 22 members of the governor's executive committee heard him say he thinks Florida is ready to reopen.

"A lot of people were saying a month ago that Florida was going to be just like New York," said Gov. Ron DeSantis. "Well, that has not happened."

After arguing the state's health care system has held up because hospitalizations per 100,000 people are relatively low, 9.8 in Florida versus New York's 87.2, the governor assigned the group to come up with a plan to rescue the state's jobs. 

RELATED: Checks have now reached 6 percent of Florida's jobless applicants, state says

So far, we know industries will be put into three categories of risk: low, medium, and high.

"The whole world is watching us," said Mark Wilson, the CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. "They are watching Florida and they are looking for your recommendations."

The task force is made up of the governor's cabinet - excluding Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried - as well as legislative and business leaders, including Tampa General Hospital CEO John Couris. The full list of members of the task force may be found below.

Broward County Mayor Dale Holness argued there should be broad testing for the antibody the novel coronavirus leaves behind, so those who are immune know they are.

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"Part of what we are going to have to overcome is the psychology of fear," Holness said.

The governor said he hoped 100,000 tests, already on order, will be delivered this week and will be deployed in areas of dense population. 

Confidence will be key whenever the state allows restaurants to reopen, on a limited basis, which could be soon.

"The thought is we start doing outside dining again," said the governor's chief of staff Shane Strum. "You look at 25-50% of restaurant occupancy. If you do that, you still have to do social distancing."

The task force will have three subcommittees and will meet every day at 2 o'clock.

A presentation will be made to the governor on Friday. He will then present a plan on how to reopen Florida.

- Lieutenant-Governor Jeanette Nuñez
- Jimmy Patronis, Florida Chief Financial Officer
- Ashley Moody, Florida Attorney General
- President Bill Galvano, Florida Senate President
- Jose Oliva, Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives
- Senator Wilton Simpson, Florida Senate President-Designate 
- Representative Chris Sprowls, Speaker-Designate, Florida House of Representatives
- Commissioner Richard Corcoran, Commissioner of Education
- Jamal Sowell, Enterprise Florida, Inc. President & CEO
- Carlos Gimenez, Mayor, Miami-Dade County
- Dale Holness, Mayor, Broward County
- David Kerner, Mayor, Palm Beach County
- John Couris, Tampa General Hospital President & CEO
- Josh D’Amaro, President of Walt Disney World Resort
- Todd Jones, Publix Super Markets CEO
- Syd Kitson, Chairman of the Board of Governors for the State University System
- Paul Reilly, Raymond James Financial Chairman & CEO
- Alex Sanchez, Florida Bankers Association President & CEO
- Eric Silagy, Florida Power & Light Company President & CEO
- John Sprouls, Universal Orlando Resort CEO, Universal Parks & Resorts Executive VP
- Patrick Sunderlin, Lockheed Martin Corporation Global Supply Chain VP
- Joe York, AT&T Florida and Caribbean President

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know


Map of known COVID-19 cases:

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