Several Florida beaches are closed for the weekend of July 4 due to concerns about the coronavirus. However, that is not the case yet for St. Petersburg residents who have access to beaches within walking distance in their county.
Mayor Rick Kriseman says he believes it is a policy that the county should consider.
"I think it is a policy that county officials should consider when arriving on the weekend of July 4. We know it is always a busy time on our beaches that weekend. "
Kriseman also criticized Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for failing to implement state policies at this time to combat the increase in cases and instead allowed local governments to take action on a number of issues, such as the closure of beaches and wearing masks.
"This should be a state policy, but at this time we do not have the leadership of the administration and the governor's office," he said. "If we are going to handle this, we have to act collectively, not just by parts, where individual local governments are implementing policies."
In new criticisms, Kriseman said DeSantis has been "very inaccessible" to Florida mayors, which is an impediment to state action against the virus.
“That is one of the frustrations that I and other mayors of the state have had. The Governor has been very inaccessible to all of us, so we have not had those conversations. I've certainly expressed a lot about the fact that I think it works best when it comes to state policy and if we can't have that county policy and if we can't have that then individual cities, "he said." But it really should come from the state. "
Kriseman also dismissed DeSantis' claims that the increase in cases is due in part to a delay in testing.
"That explanation is really downright silly. What we observe is the percentage of positive tests. So we have had days when we may have 1,500 tests to be done. Other days when we will have to perform 3,500 tests, but what really matters is what are those percentages of tests that are being done that are giving positive results, "he explained.
St. Petersburg, Florida saw a positive case percentage of 1.5% to 2% on a two-week consecutive basis in late April and early May. In the past two weeks, the moving average has increased to 10%, he said.
"That is very puzzling, and the explanation is not the amount of evidence. It's just that there are more people exposed at the moment. "