Governor DeSantis Press Briefing in West Boca

By: Benjamin Schiller

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis hosted a press briefing inside of the Home Depot in West Boca Raton on Friday. DeSantis spoke about hurricane preparations in the state and updates surrounding COVID-19.

During the approximately 40-minute press briefing, DeSantis announced that Home Depot and Publix would be opening three coronavirus testing sites each in the parking lots of their stores across the state. The Home Depot on Glades Road and 441 opened their station on Friday.

Photos by Benjamin Schiller

DeSantis said, “We’ve been able to do 10,000 tests a day at the drive-thru testing sites across the state.” The governor also added that everyone who needs a test could get one, either at a drive-thru testing site or a walk-up testing location.

As of this morning, DeSantis said more than 100,000 people in long-term care facilities had received a test, ranging from staff to residents. The governor also mentioned that “Florida has more deaths in the 90-plus years of age bracket compared to the 65-year-old and younger age bracket” due to COVID-19.

Governor DeSantis hosted his press briefing inside of the West Boca Home Depot to inform the South Florida community of an above-normal hurricane season beginning on June 1st. The governor praised the idea of going to local hardware stores until June 6th to pick up supplies during the tax-free holiday week for disaster preparedness supplies.

DeSantis welcomed Director Jared Moskowitz of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Aronberg, and Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer to address the media for a total of ten minutes.

After the local leaders spoke, Governor DeSantis opened the floor for questions. One reporter asked the governor about the contact tracing of coronavirus. Governor DeSantis mentioned that the Florida Department of Health has done a “sufficient” job, but said, “contract tracing doesn’t do it all” due to the number of people who may be asymptomatic to the virus.

Following the back and forth between the media and the governor, DeSantis said he is optimistic that the SpaceX launch will take place on Saturday at 3:22 P.M. and plans to attend with President Donald Trump. DeSantis also said he is excited for the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando to host the remainder of the NBA season.

The first-term governor said that Florida would be ready to host the Republican National Committee’s Convention in late August if asked by President Trump to do so. DeSantis cited President Trump’s frustrations at North Carolina for not committing to have a full arena for the convention due to COVID-19 concerns. Governor DeSantis expects an answer from the president within the next week.

Desantis thanked Home Depot for their support and the gift of a special apron at the end of the briefing. As DeSantis walked outside to his motorcade, he was greeted with a mixture of cheers and boos from employees and shoppers.

Home Depot notified local stores across South Florida last night of the governor’s press briefing. Most employees in the store for the press conference were managers and long-time staff members of Palm Beach County and Broward County stores. One employee said it took them “several hours” to set-up the backdrop of the briefing with hurricane supplies and close-off store isles.

The store remained open for the general public, despite Governor DeSantis speaking inside of the entrance closer to the garden section of the store. Approximately 25 members of the press were located inside of the designated press pool, with more than 50 people, consisting of shoppers and store employees, gathered outside of the small space.

Everyone in the store wore a mask and was given a complimentary squirt of hand sanitizer.