Today, [March 25, 2020] U.S. Representatives Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26), Ted Deutch (FL-22), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) led seven of their Florida Congressional colleagues in a letter urging Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to issue a statewide shelter-in-place order to protect Floridians, particularly older residents and those with underlying health issues, and help the already-strained health care system.

Florida now has nearly 1,500 cases. Yet unlike many other states with over 1,000 cases, Florida has no statewide shelter-in-place order.

“South Florida is rapidly heading towards becoming the next major epicenter for this epidemic, and right now, we are dangerously behind where we need to be to stop that trend,” said Mucarsel-Powell. “Potentially millions of lives are at stake. Effectively combating this pandemic is going to require a whole of government response, from the federal branches to state government to local municipalities. I call on the Governor to issue this state-wide order immediately.”

“The order should allow only travel for essential services like grocery stores and health care providers, and to and from the workplace for critical workers. California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin have already issued similar orders. With the highest concentration of older residents of any state, Florida is at even greater risk of serious impacts on the health of our residents and burden on our health care system.”

As the Members state in the letter,

“We understand the grave economic consequences this action will have. But hoping to dull the impacts on the economy in the short term by delaying a shelter-in-place order will only exacerbate those impacts in the medium and long term. Instead, we must accept the necessity of shelter-in-place order now while Congress works quickly to pass an economic stimulus bill that will save jobs, replace lost incomes, and support all Americans. In the long run, the cost of preventive action will save trillions of dollars and save lives.”

Mucarsel-Powell spoke about her call for a stay-at-home order in Florida on MSNBC this morning. A downloadable clip can be found here:

The letter was co-signed by Representatives Deutch, Wasserman Schultz, Mucarsel-Powell, Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), Frederica Wilson (FL-24), Donna E. Shalala (FL-27), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Darren Soto (FL-09), and Val Demings (FL-10).

The letter can be accessed here.

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