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UPDATED: Data and Polls Show Florida Should Delay Reopening

A majority of Florida voters do not want the state to loosen social-distancing rules by the end of this month, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

The Quinnipiac University Poll found that 72 percent object to having social distancing rules eased before May, while 22 percent think the requirements should be relaxed.

Additionally, 76 percent do not think the state’s economy should be reopened until public health officials determine that it safe to do so. On the other hand, 17 percent said Florida’s economy should be reopened even if public health officials warn against it.

Eight in 10 voters in our state also answered that they are concerned they or someone they know could be infected with COVID-19, and seven in 10 voters are worried that they or a family member will need hospitalization. The same number of voters said people should continue wearing masks or other facial coverings while inside stores, and another 15 percent do not believe it is necessary.

The poll also shows that Florida voters do not expect the crisis to end soon:

-49 percent expect the crisis to last a few months.

-26 percent believe the crisis to last more than a year.

-18 percent expect the crisis to last a few weeks.

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,385 Florida registered voters from April 16 to 20 through live calls to landlines and cellphones. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Meanwhile, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) reports that the Sunshine State may not be ready to reopen for business until June. They say that after June 11,relaxing social distancing may be possible with containment strategies that include testing, contact tracing, isolation, and limiting gathering size.”

Craig Fugate, the former Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), says Florida should be reopened “slowly.”

“I think it would be better to slowly and more deliberately reopen, so we’ll perhaps not have to shut down again,” adds Fugate, who now works at One Concern, an emergency management company. “If we begin moving back without testing, we’re going to have to be prepared what happens in two to three weeks if [coronavirus] starts getting bad and we’ll have to change what we’re doing.”