Gov. DeSantis announces reopening of youth activities with no restrictions

Reporter: Morgan Rynor
Published: Updated:
Governor DeSantis during a briefing on COVID-19 in Jacksonville on Friday, May 22, 2020 (WINK News)

At a briefing in Jacksonville Friday morning, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that Florida would be allowing youth activities to reopen with no restrictions.

The governor said he believes kids have been stuck inside long enough and that we need to allow them to be kids again, while still keeping them safe. He said he trusts parents to make smart decisions as to what activities their kids engage in.

We trust parents to be able to make decisions in conjunction with physicians and community leaders and coaches.

Activities include things like organized sports and summer camps.

During the briefing, DeSantis emphasized the point that, according to the CDC, children do not seem to be the main vector for spreading the coronavirus and that adults are much more likely to spread it to kids. Additionally, he said no one under the age of 25 has died from COVID-19 in the state.

The number of people who have died from COVID-19 in Florida over the age of 90 is more than everyone under the age of 65 combined, he said.

He noted that we are progressing well as a state with our percentage of those positive for the virus and that most of those are coming from increased testing at longterm living facilities, prisons and underserved communities.

DeSantis said that since Florida has entered phase one, the number of people in the ICU has declined by 26% and the number of people on ventilators has gone down 34%.

On a separate note, DeSantis addressed concerns about unemployment, as his hope is to get people returning to work by reopening Florida’s economy safely.

Thirteen-year-old Hannah McDaniel says these last few months staying cooped up inside have taken a mental and physical toll on her.

“My body was not used to just sitting around. It’s used to be upside down, flipping around,” the gymnast said.

“We’re seeing lots of kids come in with anxiety issues and depression and I think that’s because they’ve been isolating,” said pediatrician Dr. White.

“It was really exciting to find out we could come back in the gym,” McDaniel said.

Sean O’Lone, owner and head coach of Southern Starz Gymnastics, was excited to learn the news as well.

“Oh my gosh. Nothing but relief. We were looking forward to it at the beginning of phase one, and then you know when he didn’t we were disappointed. We were ready, but I understood,” he said.

It’s starting to feel like summer again for kids at Southern Starz doing gymnastics, but not everything is like it was before. The company has taken dozens of new changes and protocols getting ready for this day.

“So we have the lines on the floor to stay apart from each other six feet because we still have to social distance,” said gymnast Ilana Laster.

Southern Starz got rid of communal foam pits, the viewing area for parents and added sanitizing stations.

As for additional rules, DeSantis said he’s not planning to put any in place and that camps should follow the CDC guidelines. If that’s not enough, he says counties can put in place their own rules.

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