Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that he was lifting restrictions on all youth activities, including summer camps and organized sports, effective immediately during a news conference held Friday morning in Jacksonville.
DeSantis is leaving decisions up to local governments and organizations on how they wish to proceed with youth activities throughout the summer, meaning each municipality can impose its own restrictions. The governor said that ultimately it’s up to parents to decide if they want their child taking part in any activity.
“Our kids have been out of organized activities for several months now and we need a path to get it back,” DeSantis said. “We trust parents to be able to make decisions. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it, don’t do it. That’s fine.”
#ThisJustIn 👇: “Gov. Ron DeSantis is lifting restrictions on youth activities effective immediately. He said parents and local officials are equipped to be able to ‘do these activities in a way that is safe’.” https://t.co/qoEuldAw1R You can watch live on https://t.co/YnKX2NZJQ5 pic.twitter.com/AG7EwV1DJq
— Christina Vazquez (@CBoomerVazquez) May 22, 2020
Despite the state nearing 50,000 confirmed cases and 2,200 deaths, DeSantis pointed to the lack of COVID-19 fatalities under-25 in the state as one reason why loosening the restrictions for youth makes sense.
“I think the data is pretty clear: Kids don’t seem to get infected at the same rates that adults get infected,” he said.
“It’s important that we let kids be kids,” added Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry. “Parents and coaches and local leaders — those of us can use our best judgment to make sure we do it in a way that’s safe.”
What this means for youth in swimming remains to be seen, with guidelines likely varying between the different municipalities. Some localities in Florida have allowed pools to reopen, also under varying restrictions.
UPDATED LIST OF POOL REOPENINGS
- Alabama – 50% capacity (May 11)
- Alaska – 50% capacity
- Arizona – 50% capacity (May 15)
- Arkansas – 50% capacity (May 22)
- California – No counties have been cleared for reopening pools by the state, though several teams have resumed practice anyway.
- Delaware – Community Pools at 20% capacity, no swim lessons or team practices (May 22)
- Florida – some localities have allowed pools to begin to reopen under a patchwork of restrictions, while all youth sports have had their restrictions lifted
- Indiana – Adhering to Social Distancing Guidelines, excluding Lake, Cass, and Marion counties (May 22)
- Georgia – 10 or fewer people, or 6 feet of space per person (May 14)
- Kentucky – Pools designated for training or exercise can reopen, 1-per-lane (June 1)
- Louisiana– Lap Swimming can resume at 25% capacity
- Massachussetts – Outdoor pools Can Reopen in Phase 2 (as early as June 8), Indoor pools can reopen in Phase 3 (as early as late June)
- Mississippi – six feet apart
- North Carolina – 50% capacity (May 22)
- Ohio – CDC Guidelines (May 26)
- South Carolina – Smaller of 20%/5 people per 1000 square feet (May 18)
- Texas – 25% capacity
- Virginia – Outdoor lap Swimming only, 1-per-lane (May 15)
- West Virginia – No restrictions announced yet (May 30)
- Wyoming – 1 person per lane