Scott Says FL Officials Need To Get People Off Beaches As DeSantis Refuses To Do So

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol January 17, 2019. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) wants those dang kids off his beach, but so far Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has yet to clear them out despite the mass COVID-19 outbreak roiling the nation.

“Every level of government’s got to be very clear: Don’t be on the beach unless you can be somehow completely by yourself,” Scott said during an interview with CNN host John Berman on Thursday morning. “We’ve got to figure out the social distancing.”

“I think whether it’s the beaches, wherever we are, every part of government’s got to start telling people, ‘Take some personal responsibility here. Don’t infect other people,'” the senator added.

However, Scott wouldn’t say Florida officials ought to close the beaches entirely over the coronavirus.

“I mean, look, I don’t have all the same information that other people have,” the Republican said. “There’s a way you can walk on the beach by yourself.”

“But that’s not what’s happening,” he added. “So whatever they have to do, they have to stop all these individuals from going to the beach because there’s a chance somebody going to be down there with coronavirus.”

Scott urged the state government to “make sure that the only way you can go on the beach is if you’re going to be on there by yourself.”

DeSantis has declined to issue a statewide mandate to close his state’s beaches or at least crack down on the number of people who visit them, claiming on Wednesday that “it’s certainly not uniform throughout the state that you’re seeing massive crowds at beaches” (photos have shown college-aged people head down to the Sunshine State for spring break and flock to the beaches).

“Some of them are residents and families and small groups. If that is done properly spaced, we want them to have the freedom to do it,” the governor said. “But also have the freedom to do more if they see fit.”

DeSantis seemed to step back from his nonchalant attitude on Thursday morning, telling Fox News co-hosts that several beaches had been closed or enacted a 10-person limit on groups who visit the beaches.

“So the message, I think, for spring breakers is that the party is over in Florida,” he said. “You’re not going to be able to congregate on any beach in the state.”

However, DeSantis himself was not responsible for the beach closures. He had left the decision on beach closures to local officials, several of whom have chosen to shut down the beaches in Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach, and others.

Watch Scott below:

This post has been updated to include comments from Gov. DeSantis.

Latest News
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: