Tampa, St. Pete mayors want more testing before reopening local economies

The mayors of Tampa and St. Petersburg shared their thoughts Monday on what needs to happen before reopening the local economies. 

“Our most important job is keeping our residents safe. So how do we find that balance and what does it look like?” said Mayor Rick Kriseman of St. Petersburg.

The two mayors came together virtually during Tampa Mayor Jane Castor’s daily update on Facebook. Kriseman said he hopes the governor’s reopening plan includes some flexibility for local cities to do what’s best for their own citizens.

He also said he wants to see 14 consecutive days of COVID-19 cases on the decline, the number of people in the hospital going down, ample hospitals beds for a second wave of cases, lots of testing and contact tracing before businesses reopen. 

“What I continue to tell people is, if we rush to this, and it comes back, it’s going to be that much worse,” said Kriseman. “And that’s what other countries have seen happen. It’s worse from a health standpoint, and it’s worse economically.”

Mayor Castor said she wants to see much more testing for the coronavirus and antibody testing in communities before people begin to be around each other again. 

“I firmly believe that face coverings are a part of anything moving forward and will allow us to open up some businesses quicker than we may have been able to otherwise,” said Castor. 

Both mayors also said they would like to see the counties working together on the reopening plan, and they said they believe the region’s leaders should go about it slowly.  

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