Public Health

DeSantis Urges Organizations to Postpone Large Gatherings to Prevent Coronavirus

The remainder of the Florida spring training season is expected to be cancelled, and colleges and universities are extending spring break and instituting remote learning procedures.

By Megan McDonald March 12, 2020

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks in Florida last year.

Gov. Ron DeSantis this morning urged Florida organizations to cancel or postpone large gatherings over the next 30 days to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in the state. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines "large gatherings" as more than 1,000 and up to 25,000 people; however, many local organizations with smaller events have chosen to follow the governor's advice and are announcing cancellations or postponements today. Major League Baseball, which is currently in the midst of spring training, is also expected to cancel the remainder of its games this afternoon. You can see the evolving list—which is being updated in real time—here

The move comes a day after the governor issued an executive order preventing an array of people from visiting Florida nursing homes and spreading the virus to vulnerable residents. Coronavirus has a mortality rate that's 20 to 40 times higher than the flu in older populations, the Tampa Bay Times noted Wednesday.

Additionally, state universities—including New College of Florida and USF Sarasota-Manatee—will transition to virtual instruction/remote learning as soon as possible. Ringling College of Art and Design, whose students are currently on spring break, is extending that break through March 22, adding in an update on its website that "this will allow us time to continue to gather information to make decisions about how best to keep our campus community healthy and safe."

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