“Vice President Pence will no longer participate in campaign events in Arizona and Florida this week,” a spokesman close to Pence told Fox News Saturday. “This is related to coronavirus numbers increasing in those states.”
Pence will still be traveling to Florida, Arizona and Texas next week Fox News confirmed, to meet with governors and evaluate the situation on the ground in those states seeing spikes in coronavirus cases.
Pence’s decision comes just hours after Florida reported a record new high in daily coronavirus cases — marking it the third time this week a new record was broken.
The Florida Department of Health reported more than 9,500 new cases of coronavirus Saturday, surpassing Friday’s record high on nearly 9,000 new cases.
The White House Task Force gave its first briefing in two months Friday, where Pence was asked if he saw a correlation with the states seeing record spikes and the states that chose to reopen their economies early — including Florida, Arizona and Texas.
“I think there will be a temptation for people to look at these Sun Belt states that have been reopening and putting people back to work and suggest that the reopening has to do with what we’re seeing in the last week or so,” Pence said.
“But frankly, in the case of each of these states, they reopened, in some cases, almost two months ago.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that the new cases being reported over the last two weeks have a median age of 33, 34 and 35.
Health officials believe younger demographics have irresponsibly responded to the state’s reopening by visiting bars, not wearing face coverings and ignoring social distancing measures as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“The community transmission is being driven by the 18-35-year-old group,” DeSantis said during a news briefing Friday.
In response to this revelation, the state’s alcohol regulatory agency suspended the in-person consumption of alcohol in bars statewide, saying in a tweet: “Effective immediately, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is suspending on-premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide.”
Pence began his campaign tour this week in Wisconsin where he said, “Some 40 states just like Wisconsin are opening up again.”
Masks, temperature checks and hand sanitizer were distributed as attendees entered the event, but few masks were reportedly worn.
“We forfeited some of our personal freedom for the health of our families and our neighbors first, and we know we’re going to continue to use common sense,” Pence said before shaking hands with attendees without wearing a mask.
Fox News’ David Spunt and Kellianne Jones contributed to this report.