To shut down or not to shut down, that’s the coronavirus containment question

Reporter: Taylor Petras
Published: Updated:
FILE: A closed sign, attached on the outside fence at the Alafia River State Park, is shown Monday, March 23, 2020, in Lithia, Fla. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has issued an order closing all of Florida’s 175 state parks, trails and historic sites to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

One of the busiest places in the world is a ghost town – Times Square in New York City.

It’s empty because the governor ordered everyone to stay home. Now many Southwest Floridians are asking, why hasn’t Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a similar order?

The Edison Mall in Fort Myers just the latest retail center forced to shut down because of the novel coronavirus.

Some businesses in the area are voluntarily closing to help slow the spread of the virus, but some wonder if the state should mandate all non-essential companies shut down.

When driving around Southwest Florida you can find many empty streets, closed signs, and deserted parking lots.

Coronavirus has almost instantly changed life in Southwest Florida.

“I don’t know it’s just so dead. I mean, I can see a couple of weeks here but two months? We’re going to go nuts.”

Governors in New York, California and many other states have issued ‘stay at home’ orders to help stop the spread of COVID-19, but DeSantis says he won’t do that here, saying, “You are throwing their lives into potential disarray.”

WINK News met some people who agree, Floridians are already doing what’s necessary.
One Fort Myers resident said, “We’re not gonna not get in our car and go places, but we’re certainly not going to go places that are crowded.”

But more people who question DeSantis’ decision?

Rose Saintvi of Lehigh Acres said, “The two weeks quarantine, the shelter in place, would be good for the whole community, especially the elderly.”

WINK News spoke with the mayors of Fort Myers and Cape Coral via video chat Tuesday afternoon about whether they think we need to do more to combat the coronavirus.

Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson said, “We can’t escape the reality that sheltering in place may ultimately come to our county.”

And Cape Coral Mayor Joe Coviello said, “I think we’re right where we need to be based on some of the actions that we’ve taken. There’s nothing else that could be closed.”

Ultimately, both mayors have differing opinions, with Henderson believing a shut down is coming, and Coviello, that it’s not necessary.

DeSantis admits it’s a tough call, but he defended his decision saying there are at least 40 counties with a handful or no cases of COVID-19 currently, so there is no reason to shut down the state.

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