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Florida gov says if White House recommended stay-at-home order it would 'carry a lot of weight'

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - US vaccine effort takes hit with Johnson & Johnson pause Florida wastewater reservoir to close after leak, DeSantis says Republicans need to stop Joe Biden's progressive assault on America MORE (R) said Friday that a White House recommendation to implement a stay-at-home order would “carry a lot of weight” with him as he faces criticism over his handling of the COVID-19 outbreak in his state.

“I’m in contact with them, and, basically, I’ve said, ‘Are you guys recommending this?’” DeSantis said at a press conference Tuesday, referring to the White House’s COVID-19 task force. “The task force has not recommended that to me. Obviously, if they do, that is something that would carry a lot of weight with me.”

DeSantis added in the press conference that he would follow any updated guidance from the White House’s guidelines and urged seniors and those with underlying medical conditions to stay home. 

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“You’re safer at home, and we want you to come out of this on the other side strong and intact,” he said.

The remarks come as DeSantis faces an avalanche of criticism from Florida Democrats over his response to the coronavirus, which has exploded in the state in recent weeks. 

DeSantis has issued a stay-at-home order for the southern portion of the state and required that any travelers from New York City, New Jersey and Louisiana self-quarantine for two weeks upon arrival in Florida.

However, state Democrats have said the stay-at-home order should apply to all of Florida to prevent further spread of the highly infectious virus.

“I don’t know what part of pandemic the governor doesn’t understand,” Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-PowellDebbie Mucarsel-PowellTrump, Florida complicate Biden approach to Cuba The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Coast-to-coast fears about post-holiday COVID-19 spread The Memo: Democrats see warning signs beyond 2020 MORE (D) told The Palm Beach Post

DeSantis has refrained from ordering people to stay at home statewide, claiming that businesses and workers in unaffected counties would be unnecessarily harmed.

More than 6,300 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Florida, and 77 people in the state have died.