Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suspended remaining lockdown restrictions in his state on Monday by executive order and outlawed so-called vaccine passports.
The executive order from DeSantis immediately suspends COVID-19-related restrictions implemented by local governments within the state, such as masking mandates.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, DeSantis said the order was the “evidence-based thing to do,” citing the state’s stellar vaccine rollout, particularly for seniors, who generally are most vulnerable to the virus.
“I think folks that are saying that they need to be policing people at this point, if you’re saying that, you really are saying you don’t believe in the vaccines, you don’t believe in the data, you don’t believe in the science,” said DeSantis. “… You look around and there have been areas that have been under the yoke of some serious restrictions and lockdowns for months and months and months on end.”
As highlighted by The Daily Wire, DeSantis took shots at the White House, emphasizing that restrictions need to be loosened in conjunction with vaccine access. “And then I think the other thing, quite frankly, is when you have people, particularly in Washington, saying, ‘Yeah, get vaccinated, but then make sure you continue to social distance and wear masks all the time,’ well, the message that that sends to people is that the vaccines don’t work,” DeSantis said.
“Because if the vaccines worked, that would be your ticket to basically live normally, and make decisions for yourself. That would be the message that actually would work with people. So, I think that they’ve sent a message to say, ‘You know what? Get vaccinated, but it really isn’t going to do anything for you.’”
The COVID-19 restrictions in the state have already been rendered toothless by the governor, however, making Monday’s order somewhat redundant. The Times noted, “DeSantis previously waived pandemic-related fines against individuals and businesses, effectively rendering some county and city restrictions toothless.”
The Times added that the order does not affect restrictions implemented in public schools.
DeSantis also made permanent an order that blocks so-called vaccine passports, “prohibiting businesses, schools, and government agencies from requiring people to show documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccinations or post-infection recovery before gaining entry,” the Times highlighted.
“You have a right to participate in society … without having to divulge this type of information,” DeSantis told Floridians.
The Republican standout made similar remarks about COVID restrictions and vaccines earlier this month. The Daily Wire highlighted:
“I also think it’s a problem that people, where, you’re telling people to get a vaccine and yet people who have been vaccinated for months are wearing two masks,” DeSantis said, according to WESH.
DeSantis also said multiple times at the press conference that people who have been vaccinated should not be worried about wearing masks, especially multiple masks.
“If the vaccine is effective, why would you be wearing two masks? Like some of these folks are doing. It doesn’t make sense,” he said.