Several beaches across Florida were closed for the weekend of July 4 due to concerns about the coronavirus. However, this is not yet the case for St. Petersburg residents who have access to beaches at a driving distance in their county.
Mayor Rick Kriseman says he thinks this is a policy the county must consider.
“I think it’s politics [the county officials] we have to consider it until we get to the 4th of July weekend. We know there is always a weekend on our beaches that weekend. “
Kriseman also criticized the Florida government of Ron DeSantis for not currently implementing state policies to combat overblown cases, and left it to local authorities to take action on a number of issues such as beach closures and wearing masks.
“It should be a state-level policy, but at the moment we don’t have the leadership of the administration and the governor’s office,” he said. “If we are going to take care of that, we have to act collectively, not just on a meal basis, where individual local governments are establishing policy.”
In further criticism, Kriseman said DeSantis was “very inaccessible” to mayors across Florida, an obstacle to government action against the virus.
“It is one of the frustrations that I and other mayors across the country had. The governor was very inaccessible to us, so we didn’t have those conversations. “I must have been very vocal about the fact that I think it works best when it’s a state-level policy and if we can’t have that policy in the whole country, and if we can’t have it in individual cities,” he said. “But that should really bring the state down.”
Chriseman also dismissed DeSantis’ claims that the increase in cases was partly due to lag in tests.
“It simply came to our notice then. What we are looking at is the percentage of positive tests. So, we had days when we might have 1,500 tests done. On other days, we will have 3,500 tests that have been done, but what is really important is what is the percentage of those tests that are done and that return positively, “he explained.
St. Petersburg, Florida, noticed a percentage of 1.5% to 2% of positive cases during the two-week movement in late April and early May. In the last two weeks, the valid average has risen to 10%, he said.
“It is very disturbing, and the explanation is not the number of tests. Currently, more people are exposed. “