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DeSantis: Florida might extend statewide evictions ban

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ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he might extend the statewide moratorium on housing evictions that is set to expire on Saturday.

DeSantis signaled the possibility of the extension during a roundtable discussion in Orlando about the coronavirus pandemic Tuesday, saying officials will have “something on that soon.” The moratorium, which was implemented in April, allows people to avoid eviction from their homes amid the virus outbreak.

The governor has previously extended the ban twice, hours before it was set to expire, news outlets reported. During the governor’s extension last month, 743 eviction orders had been filed in Palm Beach County alone, according to Sharon Bock, the county’s clerk of courts. As of Wednesday, 1,001 eviction orders have been filed in the county.

If the order is not extended, “we may be trading a medical pandemic for a housing pandemic,” Bethanie Barber, the executive director for the Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association, told WESH-TV.

Florida’s death count spiked to a new height Tuesday with 191 reported fatalities, according to the state Health Department. The health department also reported 9,230 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the total for the pandemic to nearly 442,000.

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An earlier version of this report incorrectly said there had been nearly 17,000 eviction orders in Palm Beach County. There have been 743 evictions.