Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he wants to avoid imposing a statewide lockdown because of the coronavirus, and leave it up to individual counties.
But St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is joining Tampa Mayor Jane Castor in saying a statewide, uniform order would better protect Floridians.
In a Tweet Kriseman posted Monday afternoon, he said if there's no statewide "stay at home" order, cities and other municipalities like St. Pete are likely to move forward on their own.
Florida's mayors and county officials will continue to lead, but only @GovRonDeSantis can provide statewide uniformity and eliminate confusion. Let's not inch toward the inevitable. #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/UiKyfSuOKW
— Rick Kriseman (@Kriseman) March 23, 2020
St. Petersburg spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez later said a stay-at-home order is not imminent.
Hillsborough County officials also voted Monday to gather more information for a potential curfew that would keep all but people in essential jobs inside beween 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
The Emergency Policy Group, which is made up of of county commissioners, three mayors, including Castor, the sheriff and head of the county school board, is scheduled to make a decision at their next meeting on Thursday.
Kriseman and Castor have pointed to states like New York, California, and Illinois that have enacted “stay-at-home” orders as examples to follow.
But, speaking on Monday at The Villages retirement community, DeSantis said there have been issues with how people responded to New York’s order.
“If you look at what happened in New York, when they did that, stay at home order. What did people do? Well, a lot of people fled the city, and they're going to stay with their parents or they're flying. We're getting huge amounts of people flying in. We're looking at how to address those flights,” he said. “So for every action, there's a reaction.”
“So we're going to consider what would make sense for Florida, I do think we'll end up doing some more stuff very soon,” added DeSantis. “But at the end of the day, you're going to have a group of people who are not going to comply and are going to put themselves first.”