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Lawsuits & Litigation

Lawsuit Demands Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Shuts Down Beaches

— March 24, 2020

The lawsuit alleges that “spring breakers” are spreading CoVID-19 across Florida.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is facing a lawsuit demanding that he close the state’s beaches in response to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

According to The Hill, the complaint was filed Friday night by Florida attorney Daniel Uhlfelder.

So far, says The Hill, DeSantis has closed several of the Sunshine State’s most popular beaches in Broward and Palm Beach counties. DeSantis has also advised residents to adhere to Center for Disease Control guidelines on social distancing and self-isolation. While Florida has yet to implement the sorts of mandatory lock-downs increasingly common across the country, the state has shut down bars and night clubs.

But shuttered nightlife has done little to stop Florida’s nightlife problem. Uhlfelder and DeSantis both blame “spring breakers” for crowding beaches, potentially endangering the lives of vulnerable community in doing so.

DeSantis recently told “Fox and Friends” that Florida’s no longer welcoming spring breakers, and that anyone thinking of coming needs to re-evaluate their priorities amidst the pandemic.

“The message I think for spring breakers is that the party is over in Florida,” DeSantis, a Republican, said. “You’re not going to be able to congregate on any beach in the state.”

Pictured: then-Rep. Ron DeSantis, current governor of Florida. Image via Flickr/user:Gage Skidmore. (CCA-BY-2.0).

“Many of the hot spots that people like to go to, whether it’s Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Clearwater Beach, are closed entirely for the time being,” he added.

DeSantis, speaking on Fox and Friends, tried to remind viewers of COVID-19’s human toll, saying, “I know a 62-year old male in good health that is struggling for his life right now so we have go to take this seriously.”

“We have got to social distance,” he added, “don’t leave your home if you don’t have to.

“We’ve got to put a moratorium on all of our financial transactions so that people can get comfort here. Don’t have to pay the mortgage, credit cards, things like that, utilities.”

For Uhlfelder, though, the governor hasn’t been quick enough to take action; the attorney’s lawsuit claims that he’s repeatedly urged the state to close the remainder of its public beaches, but to no avail.

“The Governor has the responsibility to initiate immediate action to cope with the emerging health problems and try to prevent the spread of infectious diseases,” the lawsuit states.

Florida, adds the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, is experiencing an uptick in coronavirus cases. There have been three deaths in less than two days in Palm Beach County, with 18 deaths attributed to the disease statewide.

While DeSantis has encouraged Floridians to take common-sense precautions against the illness, he’s otherwise been reluctant to institute a full lock-down or shelter-in-place orders.


Florida attorney files lawsuit calling on governor to close beaches due to coronavirus concerns

Florida Sen. Scott: ‘Spring breakers have forced the shutdown’ of beaches

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