WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Rick Scott released the first step of his 60 Day “Let’s Get Back to Work” plan. This plan outlines the roles and responsibilities of government, the private sector and individuals necessary to get Florida and the nation back to work. Over the last few weeks, Senator Scott has been holding tele-town halls with thousands of Floridians and regional tele-roundtable meetings with local governments and business leaders to discuss the issues they’re facing and strategize about getting Florida back to work. He has also made hundreds of phone calls with federal, state and local officials, business leaders in health care, retail, tourism, restaurant and lodging, finance, utilities, manufacturing, and small business owners in Florida and around the country. They shared a lot of similar concerns and most importantly, they want a roadmap for the future. This plan is a product of those discussions.
Senator Rick Scott said, “As we bend the curve and stem the spread of the Coronavirus, we need to lay out the roles and responsibilities of government, the private sector and individuals that will help our country get back to a ‘new normal.’ Every American will play a part in helping our state and our country recover from the economic devastation brought on by this pandemic. That starts with explaining what the economic recovery will look like and the role every level of government, the private sector and individual families will play in that process.
“We can and we will come back better and stronger than before. America has faced many challenges in our 244-year history and we’ve always overcome them. It will not be easy – it will take strategic foresight, determination and diligence, and most importantly a commitment from everyone, but I know that after we heal the sick, we can also heal our broken economy and get back to work.”
SENATOR RICK SCOTT’S “LET’S GET BACK TO WORK” PLAN:
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD IMPLEMENT THE FOLLOWING POLICIES AND PROCEDURES:
- Do whatever is possible to support and fund research and expedited development of a vaccine.
- Develop a detailed plan, in coordination with state and local governments, to make this vaccine available nationwide and free to all Americans.
- Promote and fund efforts by state and local governments and the private sector to continue expanding testing capacity, including monoclonal antibody testing, and contact tracing without violating our privacy rights. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should develop a plan to allow for the hiring or contracting of health care workers to implement these improvements across the nation.
- For the economy to get back to normal, the United States MUST have the capacity to test anyone who wants to be tested. Period. There is no excuse.
- Federal agencies, working with private-sector labs and health care providers, should create a system to identify those who have received an antibody test and have Coronavirus antibodies.
- Provide guidance through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) for responsible safety precautions for individual Americans and businesses to go about their daily lives. The following questions need to be addressed:
- Should everyone wear a mask? How often should individuals wash their hands? Should groups larger than 10 still be avoided?
- Should communities be categorized by risk levels, based on factors including number of cases, hospital capacity and testing ability, so areas with few or no cases can be re-opened sooner?
- Should businesses test all their employees before allowing them to return to work? Should businesses take temperatures daily before allowing employees to enter a building?
- Is it safe to use mass transportation, like airplanes, trains and cruise lines? Are providers of mass transportation taking the necessary precautions to protect employees and travelers? Should passengers be required to take their temperature before boarding?
- Provide guidance to health care providers on what criteria they would need to meet to begin elective procedures. In areas outside of hot spots like New York, New Orleans and Detroit, hospitals sit empty and are unable to perform the majority of their services, causing them to have to lay off staff.
- Every health care provider should have point-of-care rapid diagnostic testing.
- Health care providers should also take this opportunity – with relaxed federal and state regulations – to expand their tele-health capacity.
- Reform the public health system to allow for more efficient information-sharing among federal, state, and county public health departments. This would allow faster detection and response to emerging public health emergencies.
- Hospitals and commercial insurers should transmit viral-related patient data, with appropriate privacy protections, in real-time to the CDC.
- Hospitals should also share information on the medication given to patients with the virus and the results, as well as symptoms and underlying conditions of patients who have died from the virus.
- Government should partner with telecommunication companies to use cellular data for opt-in contact-tracing.
- Continue to expand the national stockpile of Personal Protective Equipment to provide the equipment necessary for health care workers and those on the frontlines of fighting the virus, especially in hot spots and nursing homes, that will see the impact of this virus for many months to come.
- The United States must reduce its reliance on Communist China for the equipment necessary to address pandemics – many of which originate in China.
- The federal government, working with the private sector, should strengthen American-made supply chains to address this crisis and any pandemics in the future.
- Provide more clarity to banks and small businesses about the Paycheck Protection Program and available resources through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Department of the Treasury and provide oversight to protect against potential fraud.
- Small businesses and banks need to understand the regulations involved so that money can be disbursed quickly to the small businesses that need it.
- Congress must also clarify that only small businesses that have seen their revenues substantially reduced by the Coronavirus should have access to taxpayer-funded loans, which will preserve these resources for those who truly need it.
- FEMA must work with the CDC to update their guidance on how Emergency Managers can successfully keep their communities safe until the Coronavirus is completely gone.
- This is particularly relevant to Florida due to the coming hurricane season, but also applies to tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, and other potential disasters.
- Get serious about the threat of Communist China and the role the World Health Organization (WHO) played in helping China cover up the spread of the Coronavirus.
- The American people need to see that the federal government is taking the threat from Communist China seriously – the federal government must hold Communist China accountable and liable for the thousands of American lives lost due to their negligence.
- American tax dollars should not be used to purchase products made in Communist China. A new government-wide policy is needed.
- Online sellers must be required to disclose where products are made, so consumers can choose to buy American-made products.
- This pandemic should be the last straw. The United States needs to address the New Cold War occurring between the United States and China and be clear about the negative impacts of continuing to buy Chinese-made products.
- Address our nation’s deficit by bringing spending in line with revenues once the current crisis ends. Even prior to Coronavirus, our nation was running trillion dollar yearly deficits. In order for America to be prepared for the next challenge, and ensure a prosperous economy for generations to come, Congress and the Administration must work together to bring spending under control.
STATE GOVERNMENTS SHOULD IMPLEMENT THE FOLLOWING POLICIES AND PROCEDURES:
- Work with federal and local governments, as well as private-sector partners, to continue expanding testing capacity, including antibody testing.
- Build their own stockpile of Personal Protective Equipment, and monitor existing and potential hot spots to quickly redirect health care resources.
- States should pay particular attention to potential outbreaks in rural communities that don’t have significant testing capacity or health care resources.
- Provide guidance through state agencies, in coordination with the CDC, to businesses in the state on responsible safety measures. The following questions need to be addressed:
- Should restaurants continue to keep tables six feet apart for a period of time? Should they put plexiglass between booths? Should movie theaters leave seats between patrons? What cleaning regimens should amusement parks use? Should every business be required to have hand sanitizer available for patrons?
- Create plans to consistently and continuously monitor senior centers and assisted living facilities.
- Departments of Education and the Board of Governors should give clear guidance about this school year and provide regular updates on summer classes and the 2020-2021 school year.
- Parents need this information so they can begin making plans and students need to have guidance on their current and future studies.
- Teachers need the runway to continue developing digital learning lesson plans as well as professional development opportunities regarding remote-teaching.
- Departments of Education must also create clear guidelines on whether all students should be tested before returning to school or have their temperature taken before entering school buildings, as well as proper cleaning procedures.
- Higher education institutions should consider enhancing remote learning and developing alternate ways to allow students to continue their education, without putting additional financial burden on the students.
- Create contingency plans for state budgets.
- States should not and cannot rely on federal dollars to back-fill their budgets for lost revenue.
- States MUST begin creating contingency plans that protect the most important functions of government. Sacrifices will have to be made, but vulnerable populations must be protected.
- This recovery will not be complete by the end of 2020 – it will take a few years. State budgets must be structured to support the long-term recovery of vulnerable industries that drive economic growth in Florida, such as tourism and construction.
- State Emergency Management officials need to communicate updated emergency protocols to citizens. The following questions need to be addressed:
- What’s the plan for shelter? Where can I safely quarantine if I am sick? How do families evacuate? What’s the plan to prepare for a hurricane if there’s a new outbreak or hot spot?
- State governments should lead the way in connecting job seekers with available jobs. While the small business landscape of Florida will certainly look different, there will be jobs available – people just need to know where to find them.
THE PRIVATE SECTOR:
- Businesses should start creating plans NOW for re-opening and getting back to a “new normal.”
- Each business needs to make a decision for itself and its employees and customers about whether they will test all their employees before allowing them to return to work and whether they will take temperatures before allowing anyone into their facilities.
- This will require the businesses themselves, in consultation with federal, state and local officials, to ensure the testing capacity is available.
- Businesses will also need to ensure they have access to the necessary Personal Protective Equipment and sanitizing products.
- Businesses should evaluate their business practices to make sure appropriate social distancing is continued to encourage patrons to feel comfortable visiting their establishment.
- Businesses should also disclose where their products are produced, and promote American-made products.
- Businesses should create, and make public, a crisis plan to address future pandemics or the re-emergence of the Coronavirus.
- Every family needs to think through the basic guidelines and safety precautions that would make them feel comfortable going about their normal lives. Our state back can’t get back to work until Florida families feel SAFE going back into their communities, shopping at local stores, dining at local restaurants and going on vacation.
- Every Florida family should make sure they have received access to programs that address their needs – including expanded Unemployment Insurance, direct cash payments, Paycheck Protection Program loans for small businesses, and deferment of financial transactions provided by many major financial institutions, utilities, and property owners.
- Utilize local manufacturers and local stores to obtain simple Personal Protective Equipment, particularly masks.
- Focus on buying American and Florida-made products to build American jobs.
- Every family needs to understand that Communist China is responsible for this pandemic. China is our adversary who has exploited the spread of the virus to gain a strategic advantage over the world.
- This pandemic has exposed the need to vastly reduce consumer reliance on products made in Communist China. Every family needs to understand that when they purchase products made in China, they are supporting the Chinese Communist Party and their efforts to control the world and destroy freedom.
- Whenever possible, every family should try to buy American and buy local!