State Watch

Most Floridians don’t want state to reopen yet, despite push from governor: poll


Over two thirds of Floridians don’t want to loosen social distancing rules come April 30 despite Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’s push to do so, a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday found.

Seventy-two percent of respondents said that they are opposed to reopening the state once the governor’s stay-at-home order expires at the end of the month, and 76 percent said they are only comfortable returning to daily life if public health officials say it is safe.  

“I think we have a responsibility to all be creative, innovate; let’s show we can get people back to work,” DeSantis told members of his task force Wednesday. 

Florida is part of the coalition of southern states coordinating to reopen their economies even as they see continuing coronavirus cases and lack the recommended testing capacity. 

Florida was one of the last states to issue a stay-at-home order and local officials have been criticized for allowing people to gather in large crowds at beaches in the weeks leading to the pandemic. Last week the governor announced that K-12 schools in the state would remain closed for the remainder of the academic school year. 

Despite that, 50 percent of Floridians approve of how DeSantis has handled the coronavirus crisis so far, and 41 percent disapprove, according to the poll. Sixty one percent said DeSantis “could have responded sooner.”

Sixty-three percent of those surveyed said that if social distancing restrictions are scaled back, they would be uncomfortable going back to work without widespread testing for the virus. So far Florida has tested 301,147 of its 21.5 million residents. 

As of Thursday evening, the Florida Department of Health has reported 28,843 positive coronavirus cases and 987 deaths. 

The poll surveyed 1,385 registered voters in Florida from April 16 through 20. The poll has a reported margin of error of 2.6 percent.

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