Several beaches across Florida are closed for the fourth weekend of July due to coronavirus concerns. 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 as we get to the 4th of July weekend. We know it’s always a busy weekend on our beaches. “
Kriseman also criticized the Florida government of Ron DeSantis for not currently implementing state policies to combat overblown cases, leaving it to local authorities to take action on a number of issues such as closing the beach and wearing masks.
“It should be a state-wide 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’s 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 politics all over. state and if we can’t have that policy in the whole county, and if we can’t have that then individual cities, “he said.” But that should really bring down the state. “
Kriseman also dismissed DeSantis ’claims that the increase in cases was due in part to lag in tests.
“That explanation is really frankly silly. What we’re looking at is the percentage of positive tests. So we’ve had days where we might have 1,500 tests done. The other days we’re going to have 3,500 tests done, but what’s really important is how many are percentages of those tests that are done and that come back positively, ”he explained.
St. Petersburg, Florida observed a positive case rate of 1.5% to 2% on a fortnightly basis, in late April and early May. In the last two weeks, the valid average has risen to 10%, he said.
“It’s very embarrassing, and the explanation isn’t the number of tests. It’s about more people being exposed at the moment.”