‘Keep ‘em open, or shut ‘em down?’ Local business reacts to White House calling for state to close indoor dining, other businesses

Published: Jan. 29, 2021 at 7:27 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A newly-revealed White House Report calls on Florida to close indoor dining, bars and other businesses, but the governor is showing no signs of changing course.

The White House’s Coronavirus Task Force published this report back on Jan. 17, making it a Trump Administration document and was authored by a departing team of health officials.

The data included in that report shows cases are dropping in Florida, but the authors warned that variants and other factors warrant stricter lockdowns.

Governor Ron Desantis opposed those moves and defended his long-held position Thursday night on Fox News.

“I think we’ve understood, COVID is real, focus on your elderly population. But you can’t run your society in the ground. Kids are in school, people need to be able to earn a living,” Gov. DeSantis said.

So, what do business owners think?

WCTV visited Chicken Salad Chick off Market Street, where owner Bob Gosselin has done his best to weather the pandemic’s storm, relying on takeout, delivery apps and more.

He says he tries to tune out the political noise and instead focus on the most important voice in the room.

“We listen to our costumers. When Governor DeSantis announced that you could open your dining room 100%, my managers were all for it, but I said, ‘hang on lets see what happens,’ and we waited a couple days and watched social media,” Gosselin explained. “And social media showed no desire for packed dining rooms, so they still have tables closed.”

Gosselin says let case numbers and positivity rates drive public opinion which will drive his moves.

The White House Report in question was from the Trump Administration.

The Pres. Biden reports are still producing tables and charts, but as of now, there is no new guidance for businesses.

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