TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is ordering all bars and nightclubs to close effective 5 p.m. for 30 days due to the coronavirus pandemic.
During his late morning news conference, DeSantis also announced that four University of Florida students have tested positive for the coronavirus and at least one of those cases is travel-related.
“We know one was engaging in international traveling and I think one or two of the others were in some of the hot spots in the U.S. like New York. We’re working on tracking down the details,” said DeSantis.
Those cases have led to an extension for all Florida universities to continue remote learning through the end of the spring semester.
In addition, he said a 77-year-old man died at an assisted living facility in Broward County. It’s the second coronavirus death at the Atria Willow Woods complex, according to the Sun-Sentinel. Another victim died from the virus on Friday.
DeSantis said other patients were being tested and monitored to help prevent casualties from spiraling upward.
“The department of health sent a strike team last evening upon becoming aware of the individuals positive test results and then worked through the night checking on every other member in the facility and so all of the individuals in the facility are isolated and are being evaluated,” he said.
He did not identify the facility where the man died.
There are now 192 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Florida, 173 are residents.
For those restaurants that don’t close indoor seating, the Governor also announced that restaurants must limit their number of patrons to maintain safe distances between diners. Under the governor’s order, restaurants can only operate at half capacity.
Up until now, DeSantis has mostly refrained from issuing mandates and allowed localities to use their own judgment on how to limit public activities.
But with federal officials on Monday issuing stricter guidelines on public gatherings, the governor said it was time to act. He said his order gives communities that are hardest hit more flexibility.
“This is the floor for Florida for the foreseeable future,” DeSantis said, adding he expected municipalities such as Miami to pass stricter regulations. “We support the efforts that the locals are doing. This is a virus that is affecting the whole state, but I think it affects different communities differently. The response may not always be the same on every little thing. We have a number of counties that have not had a single case. And so I feel this makes the most sense.”
Stricter rules are exactly what’s happening in South Florida as all restaurants in Miami-Dade County, including Miami Beach, the City of Miami and all unincorporated areas, are closing their dining rooms and only offering takeout and delivery services effective at midnight tonight.
On Tuesday afternoon, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis held a news conference to announce business closures in his city.
Watch the press conference here:
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Enforcement will be managed by the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Division of Emergency Management.