Florida State Parks To Reopen Monday

May 1, 2020

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says state parks will reopen on Monday.

Gov. DeSantis made the announcement Friday at Little Talbot Island State Park in Jacksonville. 

“Opening the parks back up is consistent with my safe, smart, step by step plan to reopen Florida,” the governor said. 

DeSantis said outdoor transmission of the highly contagious coronavirus from person to person is less likely than transmission in enclosed environments, citing a recent lab study by the Department of Homeland Security.

That study, which was conducted under ideal conditions and in a controlled setting, has not yet been peer reviewed. Initial lab results suggest that increasing temperature, humidity, and sunlight can kill the virus faster.

“Now, that doesn't mean you can't transmit it. Obviously, if you pack in 1,000 people and they're right next to each other and they cough on each other, that's going to be risky,” DeSantis said. “But when you're talking about open spaces with appropriate social distancing, that is a very low-risk environment. But it's also high reward for the people of Florida, because people can go out, they can get sunlight, they can get fresh air. It's good for peace of mind when they're exercising. That's a good thing.” 

The governor also emphasised that people over 50 and with underlying health conditions are at a much higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19.

DeSantis said parks may reopen with some restrictions, and the state will continue to promote and enforce social distancing.

“We want to make sure that we continue to do these things responsibly, using what Mayor Curry did here in Jacksonville as a great model,” DeSantis said, referring to the mayor’s decision to reopen beaches and parks to the public, with limits on hours and activities allowed. 

“With the data and with basic logic, it made sense to open wide spaces, to let people move, and remind them to social distance,” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said.

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.