ORLANDO, Fla. - Governor Ron DeSantis said on Friday that Florida's state parks will reopen on Monday, May 4.
The governor made the announcement from Little Talbot Island State Park in Jacksonville.
"Opening the parks back up is consistent with my 'Safe. Smart. Step-By-Step Plan' to reopen Florida," DeSantis said. "I think we've seen enough about COVID-19, and I think the science backs it up, that outdoor transmission is less likely than transmission in closed environments."
DeSantis says a recent study helped him make the decision to reopen the parks.
“The Department of Homeland Security’s biodefense lab recently conducted a study about the effect of sunlight, heat and humidity on the virus, in terms of surface transmission and in terms of respiratory droplets and aerosols,” DeSanits said.
The study reportedly came to the conclusion that sunlight killed the virus in aerosols at a rapid pace, the governor said.
DeSantis also stated that reopening the parks would be good for the people of Florida and for their peace of mind.
"Being outdoors and in open air is more low risk," the governor said.
DeSantis did stress that people must continue to practice social distancing.
The announcement comes just days before Florida is set to partially reopen as part of the governor's Phase 1 plan.
DeSantis issued an executive order Wednesday allowing restaurants to allow in-door dining at 25 percent capacity and outdoor seating with social distancing guidelines in place starting May 4. The order also allows retail stores to re-open at 25 percent capacity while also following social distancing and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
His order will also allow hospitals and surgical centers statewide to restart nonessential, elective procedures — but only if they have sufficient medical supplies and agree to help nursing homes and assisted living facilities prevent and respond to coronavirus outbreaks.