JACKSONVILLE, Fla – Just in time for summer, Florida is immediately lifting all restrictions on youth activities, including track and field and summer camps.
Speaking on an indoor basketball court at Ed Austin Park in Jacksonville on Friday morning, Gov. Ron DeSantis said children are less likely to be infected and hospitalized from COVID-19 than adults.
“I think our kids haven’t had any organized activities for a few months now, and I think we need to have a way to get it back,” DeSantis said.
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According to the Florida Department of Health, there have been no coronavirus-related deaths in Florida in patients under the age of 25.
“This virus has a disproportionate impact on the elderly,” DeSantis said. “Children do not appear to be infected at the same rate as other adults are infected.”
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The governor stopped before reopening playgrounds across the state, which remain closed due to concerns over the pandemic.
DeSantis said that while youth activities may resume, he encouraged parents to speak to their child’s doctor and coaches to make sure they can participate safely.
“It’s a parent’s decision. No parent is forced to have their child, if you don’t feel comfortable doing it, don’t,” DeSantis said.
The governor added that the state will not require children to wear face coverings when playing youth sports, but individual cities can choose to put these type of restrictions in place.
“I’ve seen other jurisdictions, other states like, 100 rules on how to pick up a tennis ball,” DeSantis said. “When you do that and overcook it you end up being less respected. Because people put their hands up and say it’s ridiculous.”
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Florida is currently in “full phase 1” of its plan to reopen, which means restaurants and retail stores can operate at 50% capacity indoors, and gyms and fitness centers fit can reopen.