Majority of Floridians think social distancing should continue into May, poll finds

People wear face masks outside a store on the first day that local officials in Osceola County, Florida near Orlando made the wearing of face coverings in public mandatory in an effort to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Paul Hennessy / Ech

A new poll indicates that a majority of Floridians think it's too soon to begin loosening social distancing guidelines.

Quinnipiac University's latest poll, which was released Wednesday, says 72% of Florida voters feel the state should not loosen social distancing rules by the end of April, while 22% thought the move would be appropriate.

The poll also found 76% of registered voters believe the state's economy should only reopen when public health officials say it's safe to do so, compared to 17% who say it should reopen even if health officials warn against it.

“The state’s stay-at-home order is scheduled to expire at the end of the month of April, but nearly three-quarters of Floridians are not ready to drop their guard,” the university's polling analyst Tim Malloy said.

Half of the voters polled approved of Gov. Ron DeSantis' handling of the coronavirus response in the state, while 41% disapproved. But 61% of those polled said DeSantis could've responded sooner to the pandemic.

Voters disapproved 52% to 43% of his decision to exempt religious services from Florida's stay-at-home order.

Meanwhile, a vast majority of the responders said they relied heavily on public health officials for accurate information about the virus. Of those polled, 62% answered public health officials, while 18% answered President Trump and 8% responded with Gov. DeSantis.

“Voters make it very clear they want guidance on navigating the crisis not from the White House or the State House in Tallahassee, but from public health officials,” Malloy added.

To read the full poll results, click here.

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know


Map of known COVID-19 cases:

MOBILE APP USERS: Click here for map

This story was reported from Tampa, Florida.