Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed an executive order to suspend all remaining local emergency COVID-19 mandates.
During a press conference on Monday in St. Petersburg, DeSantis said, “I think that’s the evidence base thing to do.”
“During any emergency, our businesses should be free from government mandates to close, and our schools should remain open for in-person instruction for our children,” he added.
The governor’s comments come as he signed a bill that would invalidate any remaining emergency mandates, which goes into effect on July 1. However, DeSantis said he signed the executive order to “bridge the gap between then and now.”
The move to suspend local emergency mandates did not go over well with St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman (D), who claimed, “This act, this isn’t for the protection of Floridians. This is for politics. And that’s not what it’s supposed to be.”
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman (D) calls out Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R-FL) suspension of local COVID orders:
“This act, this isn’t for the protection of Floridians. This is for politics.” pic.twitter.com/wjldL7IdUh
— The Recount (@therecount) May 3, 2021
DeSantis’ order comes as the state has seen a 23% decrease in the number of new cases compared to the prior two weeks.
According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 15 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in Florida — a state with more than 21 million residents.
While DeSantis argued that the evidence supports his approach, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned last month that it would be a “risky proposition” to open the state without coronavirus restrictions in place.
Also, on Monday, DeSantis signed a bill that would ban “vaccine passports” in the state. The idea of a “vaccine passport” is to give Americans a way to prove that they have been vaccinated and help facilitate a return of commerce and other social activities.
The Republican governor has been skeptical of the idea as he previously suggested, “If you want to go to a movie theater or a concert or all this stuff, go. If you don’t, don’t.”
“But, to require someone to show some type of proof of vaccination is completely unacceptable. It’s not something we are going to support here in any way,” he added.
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