Executives in Florida sign letter encouraging effort to stop spread of COVID-19

Published: July 29, 2020 7:08 PM EDT
Updated: July 29, 2020 10:37 PM EDT

From Coca-Cola, United Way to Florida Power & Light, 135 business and community leaders in Florida are sending a message that it’s time to do more to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

A letter spearheaded by the CEO of Florida Blue includes executives from an array of industries including nonprofits, businesses, health care systems, farming companies and more.

In the letter the leaders say, “By every metric,” Florida has been reaching record levels of COVID-19 on an almost daily basis, including Wednesday.

In the letter signed by more than 100 top Florida executives, they said, “We all need to take personal responsibility to do the right thing for ourselves and one another.”

Julie Lehotay is a mother of four children in Lee County. She says it’s this type of uniform response she’s been looking for.

“When you can go into a place where you know that your safety and the employees’ safety are important then … you’ll go there more often,” Lehotay said. “You’ll spend more money. I feel like that’s good for the economy.”

Lehotay loves the CEO response but wants more from county leaders who have the authority to do something here. She’s sent numerous emails.

“They really promote education, but that’s what we’ve been doing,” Lehotay said. “And now it’s the end of July, and our numbers are very, very high.”

Wednesday, the state set a record for reported COVID-19 deaths with 216.

Lehotay hopes county commissioners will discuss more safety measures for COVID-19 and address the letter from the Lee Health staff at every hospital asking the county to mandate masks.

“I’m not an expert,” Lehotay said. “But when health care workers are getting together and saying please do this, and he’s shot it down right away it just tells me that they’re not listening.”

Lee Health says they support the decision of their staff to send the letter, but CEO Dr. Larry Antonucci has stood firm in his beliefs against it.

Wednesday, Lee Health announced a partnership with Lee County to keep educating people on the importance of following CDC guidelines.