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DeSantis says it ‘doesn’t make sense’ to close gyms in Florida

Daniel Bolling works out at the Downtown Gym, Monday, May 18, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. Fitness centers were allowed to reopen in parts of Florida today and restaurants could open at 50 percent capacity. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Daniel Bolling works out at the Downtown Gym, Monday, May 18, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. Fitness centers were allowed to reopen in parts of Florida today and restaurants could open at 50 percent capacity. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday said he is not closing gyms because he thinks people who go to them are “even less at risk for the coronavirus” because they are staying healthy and working out.

“I think taking that option away for people to be healthy just doesn’t make sense,” the Republican governor said during a news conference in Apopka. “I think most people who are going to the gyms are in the low-risk groups, and I think what they are doing is making them even less at risk of the coronavirus. So, I don’t think it would make sense to close them.”

The governor’s comment came after a reporter asked him about an unpublished document prepared for the White House Coronavirus Task Force that recommended Florida and 17 other states in “red zones” should roll back reopening measures amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The July 14 document, obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit newsroom, said bars and gyms should be closed in “red zone” states.

A “red zone” refers to a location that recorded more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population last week, or a positivity rate above 10 percent.

“Florida had 308 new cases per 100,00 population in the past week, compared to a national average of 119 per 100,000,” according to the document.

DeSantis told reporters he was not shutting down gyms because he said the state has not “had a lot of problems with that.”

He added that if people are under age 50 and in good shape, they have a “very, very, low likelihood of ending up in significant conditions as a result of the coronavirus.”