Health experts and local leaders were stunned Wednesday when Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis extended his order barring towns, cities, and counties from enforcing local mask mandates even amid a disturbing spike in COVID-19 cases.
DeSantis extended an earlier order prohibiting localities from fining people who refuse to wear masks, effectively rendering mandates unenforceable.
He extended the order less than a week after a bipartisan group of mayors pleaded with him to issue a statewide mask mandate. Experts widely regard masks as a simple, effective way to stem the tide of COVID-19. DeSantis is reportedly no longer taking phone calls from mayors.
Chris King, the 2018 Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, tweeted a news story of DeSantis’ latest move with a comment calling the decision a “killing spree.”
Alternate headline: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Continues Killing Spree https://t.co/Wh0spcg3RG
— Chris King (@ChrisKingFL) November 25, 2020
“I. Have. No. Words. Anymore,” tweeted epidemiologist Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, a senior fellow in the Federations of American Scientists. “God help Florida. God help us all.”
Florida @GovRonDeSantis Extends Ban On Cities Imposing Their Own Mask Mandates—Critic Calls Move A ‘Killing Spree’.
I. Have. No. Words. Anymore.
God help Florida. God help us all. #COVID19https://t.co/YBPOe7MvUlpic.twitter.com/rSh5cVyAxe
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) November 26, 2020
Florida was one of the last states to institute any restrictions to battle COVID-19. DeSantis then allowed restaurants and bars to reopen at 100% capacity beginning in September. That’s when he also barred enforcement of local mask mandates.