DeSantis: Florida summer camps can open without restrictions

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, gestures as he speaks to the media with Vice President Mike Pence delivering personal protective equipment to the Westminster Baldwin Park, Wednesday, May 20, 2020, in Orlando, Fla., as part of the initiative to deliver PPE to more than 15,000 nursing homes across America. Pence is also scheduled to participate in a roundtable discussion with hospitality and tourism industry leaders to discuss their plans for re-opening during the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday during a news conference in Jacksonville that summer camps and youth activities can open without restrictions.

He said local organizations and governments can set rules and guidelines. The state won’t preempt those rules, he added.

“I hope that this will be good for folks over the summer. I really trust parents. I trust the physicians who work with the kids, the local leaders, coaches, camps,” he said.

He said Florida has had no fatalities of people under the age of 25.

“I think the data is pretty clear: Kids don’t seem to get infected at the same rates that adults get infected,” he said.

As of Friday morning, there have been more than 49,000 cases diagnosed in Florida, with about 2,190 deaths. The median age of people infected is 54 years old, according to state statistics.

Meanwhile, Miami Beach city commissioners agreed Friday to reopen beaches and hotels beginning June 1, a week after the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

The beaches will reopen about two weeks after retail stores, hair salons and barber shops were allowed to open under Florida’s phase 1 plan.

The commission delayed the reopening of restaurants in the city until Wednesday, two days after Memorial Day.

Officials didn’t want to deal with large crowds at the beach over the long holiday weekend that unofficially kicks off the summer season.

“We have to exercise some measure of caution because there is a natural tension between crowds and physical distancing,” Miami Beach Mayor Gelber said. “How do you manage that in a pandemic? The answer is carefully. We know that Memorial Day is a traditional time for everybody to go to the beach and if we saw hundreds of thousands of people on our beaches, it would be a disaster.”

The decision is likely to result in other nearby coastal cities reopening their beaches, which have been closed to the public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, the Miami Herald reported.

Gelber told commissioners that Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez had been “waiting for us to give him the signal” to reopen the county’s beaches.

Broward County officials set Tuesday as the reopening day for beaches there.

Officials in the Florida Keys also set a June 1 date to reopen for visitors.