Florida reports over 6,000 COVID-19 cases as Easter weekend gets underway

The Florida Department of Health on Saturday reported another 6,017 coronavirus cases and 66 more deaths as the Easter weekend kicks off across the state. 

Starting Monday, residents 16 and older can get the COVID-19 vaccine. Orange County opened its appointment portal on Friday for the convention center for the new age group. All slots were booked within 45 minutes. 

Also on Friday, a new executive order bans any Florida government agency from issuing a COVID-19 vaccine passport and restricts any business from requiring them before allowing a customer to enter.

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Governor Ron DeSantis issued the executive order Friday for the next 90 days, and he said he wanted to make sure people can go to a game, a restaurant or a movie theater without proving they got the vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has officially released its coronavirus guidance ahead of Easter Sunday, advising those who are taking part in the celebration to do so virtually and avoid travel, if possible. Those who are fully vaccinated against the novel disease, however, may gather together without face masks, the federal agency said. 

The CDC reiterated several pieces of guidance it has provided around holiday gatherings since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the use of face masks in certain instances, as well as socially distancing from those who do not live with you, washing your hands and avoiding crowded, poorly ventilated areas. 

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"Celebrating virtually or with the people you live with is the safest choice this winter. If you do gather with people who don’t live with you, gatherings and activities held outdoors are safer than indoor gathering," per the CDC. 

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Additional steps include: 

Have conversations ahead of time to understand expectations for celebrating together

  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils
  • Wear a mask indoors and outdoors
  • Avoid shouting or singing 

Anyone hosting a gathering should be mindful of the number of guests they are inviting, limiting the number when possible.

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The CDC also suggests having extra face masks on hand for guests, cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces, and keeping windows and doors open, if possible, to keep the fresh air flowing.