In his Thursday evening press briefing, Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state’s top priority is making sure Floridians receive their unemployment benefits.
DeSantis announced that the economic task force will be meeting for the first time tomorrow. They aim to roll out the state’s plan for reopening the economy by next week.
DeSantis said the plan will consist of “silos” that will each address a different facet like restaurants, testing, large events, non-essential business and protective gear requirements.
According to a memorandum sent by Florida Senate President Bill Galvano on Thursday, 660,438 unemployment claims have been filed in the last five weeks.
About 80,000 unemployment applications are still being processed, DeSantis said.
As of Thursday, the Department of Economic Opportunity has made 121,102 unemployment relief payments, totaling nearly $50 million, DeSantis said.
DeSantis also announced that Department of Management Services Secretary Jonathan Satter will now be leading Florida’s COVID-19 response to unemployment.
“Ultimately, we need to get people paid,” DeSantis said. “I’ve directed Secretary Satter that’s got to be the number one priority.”
DeSantis said that improvements have been made to catalyze relief payments, including an executive order he signed Thursday that overrides a provision requiring applicants to prove and recertify their unemployment every two weeks.
“We understand what’s going on with the economy now, we hope it’s short-term,” DeSantis said, “but clearly this is not something that if you look hard enough, you’re going to find a new job… This will hopefully clear up some more space to get more applications through.”
Satter said that improvements are also being made to the unemployment relief process with regular software updates and rallying all possible state resources to process the applications.
Here are the latest coronavirus updates by the Florida Department of Health, as of Thursday evening:
- 23,340 total cases in Florida
- 3,458 hospitalizations in Florida
- 668 deaths in Florida
- 200 total cases
- 27 hospitalizations
- Zero deaths
Although Alachua County has a higher number of total cases, surrounding rural counties have recorded more coronavirus-related deaths. Clay County has reported nine total deaths, Citrus County eight deaths.
Find the full FDOH coronavirus dashboard here.