March 29, 2020
A drama is playing out right now in Florida which could have serious consequences for both public health and first-amendment rights.
The Miami Herald wrote a scathing editorial last Sunday on Governor Ron DeSantis’ strategy and leadership, including the lack of statewide closure of beaches, and stay-in-place directives specifying all citizens.
“Pictures of Florida’s crowded beaches, taken days after every expert in the world was sounding the social-distancing alarm, have further cemented our place as an international punchline,” said the editorial.
The editorial’s headline reads, “Coronavirus is Killing Us in Florida, Act Like You Give a Damn.”
This past Saturday, Mary Ellen Klas, a Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times reporter for the state capital bureau operated jointly by two of Florida’s largest papers, was excluded from a press conference covering testing, access to medicine, and efforts to prevent New Yorkers from flying into the state.
Klas was told by the governor’s spokesperson that they could view the press conference from a live stream. Along with other reporters, she had asked for social distancing in a March 20 letter.