JACKSONVILLE (CBSMiami/AP) — All restrictions on youth activities, including summer camps and athletics, are being lifted effective immediately, according to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. However, Miami-Dade and Broward County will wait longer.
DeSantis made the announcement at a news conference in Jacksonville on Friday, saying local organizations and governments can set rules and guidelines. The state will not precede these rules, he added, and said the state will rely on parents, coaches and doctors to make these activities safe.
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“I hope it will be good for people during the summer. I really trust the parents. I trust the doctors who work with the children, the local leaders, the coaches, the camps,” he said. declared.
In South Florida, Broward and Miami-Dade counties are not lifting restrictions on summer camps and youth activities.
Broward County said it is not moving forward with plans to offer youth sports or summer camps at this time.
Miami-Dade County officials also said summer camps and sports will remain closed until county officials consult with local medical experts.
County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said, “I want to clarify that the Governor’s order does not apply to Miami-Dade County at this time. I spoke with Governor DeSantis on Friday, and we agree that the county’s current restrictions on youth activities and camps should remain in place while the youth activities and summer camps task force County continues to work with our esteemed medical experts to finalize recommendations on how operations can be performed safely. Carry on. My goal is for summer camps and other activities for young people to be able to begin operations on June 8, once doctors and health professionals have determined what measures need to be implemented to keep our children safe. and our community.?
The Florida Department of Health reported Friday that 4,832 of the state’s 49,451 COVID-19 cases involved people under the age of 25. The state also reported 178 hospitalizations of people in this age group due to complications from COVID-19.
The governor said there were no deaths of people under the age of 25.
“I think the data is pretty clear: children don’t seem to be getting infected at the same rate as adults,” he said.
The governor, a father of three young children, however, said he was not comfortable seeing his children involved in youth activities.
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“I wouldn’t want my kids involved in things right now,” he said. “But if for some reason I didn’t think it was safe and my wife didn’t, then obviously we wouldn’t (lift the restrictions).”
Helen Aguirre Ferre, the governor’s spokeswoman, later clarified that DeSantis did not want his children out because of their age — the oldest is 3 — and not because the activities would pose health risks.
“Most of the youth activities are for older children, T-Ball, for example, starts at 4-5 years old. However, other parents should be able to make that choice on their own,” Ferre said in an email Friday.
Attorney General Ashley Moody told the News Service of Florida on Friday that she was “excited and happy” to let her 10-year-old son participate in youth activities this summer, as long as there are precautions and safeguards for prevent the spread of COVID -19.
“We’re going to look for them,” Moody said. “It’s wonderful to see that if we can do this in a safe and responsible way, our children can be with their friends and be productive this summer.”
A Tampa Bay Times analysis of medical examiner and state health records showed that 83% of coronavirus deaths were in people over the age of 65. DeSantis said many of the recent positive cases have come from long-term care facilities and prisons.
“We think it makes sense based on the data and the observed experience. We’re not going to institute a lot of rules, or really any rules,” DeSantis said. parents to be able to make decisions in collaboration with the doctors.”
Even so, Nichole Harrell, 31, of Tampa, has reservations about sending her 7-year-old son to summer camp this year. She said her only child is a social butterfly who likes to hug everyone and give high-fives. While she repeatedly explained social distancing to him, Harrell said he “don’t really know the meaning of it.”
Harrell said with restrictions like staying away and not sharing sports equipment, camp, which is meant to be fun, could feel more like punishment. So she keeps him home for the summer.
“We don’t know if it’s really safe. We don’t know if it’s really gone. We don’t know if we will have a second surge,” she said. “There are just too many unknowns.”
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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. Florida’s Associated Press and News Service contributed to this report.)