Says he supports lifting federal COVID-19 restrictions on travelers from the United Kingdom and Brazil – two of the most dangerously infected countries in the world
MIAMI – Why does Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis want to get Floridians killed? Simply put, because the loss of more lives in Florida vs the economic benefit of getting cruise ships sailing again is a trade-off that he’s willing to make. It’s also something that he believes in strongly enough that he has lobbied the Whitehouse for their helping in making it happen.
Speaking at a roundtable discussion at Seminole State College of Florida’s Heathrow Campus about COVID-19 and other issues facing his state, DeSantis told those in attendance that he’s been working with the White House on how cruise ships can get back to operation.
“I do believe the president is supportive of it.”
“That is going to be an environment that is a different level of risk than going to an outdoor football game or some of these other things,” he said. “It has all kinds of impacts throughout different parts of Florida where the ships leave. Central Florida, South Florida, Tampa Bay. And we want to see that resume. So, I’ve worked with the White House on that. I do believe the president is supportive of it.”
DeSantis is not alone. Port authorities and cruise workers have also been pressuring the government, and specifically the CDC to allow cruise ships to sail again from Florida ports.
The Governor cited rapid testing capabilities and the devastating economic impact on the state of Florida as reasons why the cruise industry should get back to normal. In his discussions with President Donald Trump, DeSantis came away believing the President supported an industry restart.
Easing International Travel Restrictions
Along with cruising, Governor DeSantis is lobbying for an easing of international travel restrictions, particularly from places like Brazil and the United Kingdom which are a major source of tourism for the Sunshine State. They also happen to be two of the countries with the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the world.
DeSantis doesn’t believe that allowing international tourism to restart will be significant in the spread of the virus and doesn’t see it as a threat to the health of Floridians.
“I think it would be very good for this part of the state to be able to have that travel back,” he said. “I just don’t view that as something that is going to alter the trajectory of COVID here.”
The U.K. reported 310 new deaths from Covid-19 on Wednesday, following 367 on Tuesday that was the highest daily total since May. The number of daily positive cases rose to 24,701 from 22,885. Bloomberg reports that Britain now faces being forced into imposing a national lockdown as internal government projections put the U.K. on course for a prolonged winter peak in the pandemic — with more deaths than last spring.
Brazil is in even worse shape than Britain. It has the third-highest global number of COVID-19 infections and the second-highest number of deaths after the United States.
People are willing to chance it though
DeSantis mentioned that a bump in airline passengers lately is an indicator that people are ready and willing to travel. He also stated that since the virus is already found everywhere, including Florida, there’s really no risk of the virus coming in via travelers.
“The virus is endemic. It’s not like if somebody comes, that’s going to be introducing something that’s not anywhere,” he said “The Northeast had their cycle, the Sunbelt had a cycle, now the Midwest and the Great Plains is having a cycle. Europe, these places that didn’t really get it are now getting it.”
Florida welcomed an estimated 12.8 million travelers during the second quarter of this year as businesses were shut down in April and amid harried reopening efforts in May and June. The figure was down from 32.4 million during the same period a year earlier.
Included in those numbers, overseas visitors dropped from 2.65 million in the second quarter of 2019 to 235,000 in the second quarter of this year.
In prior years, the United Kingdom has accounted for about 10.5 percent of the state’s foreign visitors and Brazil about 8.5 percent, second and third only to Canada.
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