While calls to require residents to wear face masks grow louder amid rising COVID-19 cases, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to maintain his position that mask-wearing should be voluntary.
At a news conference in Miami Friday, DeSantis said people need to abide by local mask-wearing requirements. But that’s as far as the governor was willing to go, as he reiterated a position about personal freedoms.
“This has to be voluntarily because the Constitution is not suspended just because there is a virus,” DeSantis said. “You do have a right to protest, you have a right to go to religious service, all these other things.”
The numbers of new COVID-19 cases reported daily by the state have been increasing by record amounts. The state Friday announced 3,822 new cases, making Florida a new national hotspot for the spread of the virus.
The data released by the Department of Health show the state has had 89,748 COVID-19 cases and 3,104 deaths related to the virus. Florida has had 28,260 new COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks.
The governor has offered several explanations for the spike, including increased testing among high-risk people such as nursing home residents. He also said migrant workers and construction workers have been testing positive for COVID-19, in part, because of cramped living and working conditions. On Friday, he also repeatedly said that many of the positive test results involve younger adults, who are less prone to severe medical problems because of the virus.
The surge in cases, however, is the impetus behind moves by a number of local governments to mandate that residents wear masks. Residents in Orange County will be required to wear masks beginning Saturday. There are no fines for people who violate the policy.
Tampa’s mayor ordered citizens to wear masks in public or face potential citations. In neighboring Pinellas County, workers who interact with the public also are now required to wear masks. Broward County residents who don’t wear facial coverings in public indoor spaces can face second degree misdemeanors. Miami-Dade County has taken similar steps. And in the Florida Keys, the Monroe County Commission has required everyone to wear face coverings for the next year.
The Florida Medical Association issued a statement Friday thanking local governments that have mandated face masks and calling on others to follow suit. The FMA is the largest physicians association in the state.
“The science is clear. Asymptomatic infected individuals can release infectious aerosol particles while breathing and speaking,” FMA President Ronald F. Giffler said in a prepared statement. “Not wearing a mask or face covering increases exposure, whereas universal masking greatly reduces the spread of viral particles. The message is simple: For the sake of your health and the health of everyone around you, Florida’s doctors want you to wear a mask.”
While DeSantis won’t mandate the use of masks, he has encouraged them — as has state Surgeon General Scott Rivkees — and said there would be public service announcements on masks in the coming weeks.
–Christine Sexton, News Service of Florida
He’s an immoral idiot
The Voice Of Reason says
Soon, the virus will be the one setting the policy in Florida. desantis will hide in a hole or baby bunker like you know who. NY was the epicenter. They mandated masks and didn’t rush reopening the economy. Their curve peaked and without exception dropped like a rock. Our actions are the exact opposite. We are on our way to being the new epicenter. All over the world, the results are the same. Masks and don’t rush the reopening. That’s how it must be dealt with. Along with testing and contact tracing. It’s a shame about the economy, the virus doesn’t concern itself with economies.
Our governor has become the poster boy for what not to do during a pandemic.
The problem with the whole mask issue is that me wearing one protects you and not me. Now at a glance we can see who really DOES or DOES NOT give a crap about our fellow human beings.
Even though the mask you are wearing protects another person, it also protects you as it helps keep “debris” from another person landing on your face and also from not breathing in as much junk. I still think that ALL stores and businesses should take some responsibility and require wearing a mask in their store or business.
De Santis joins the list of lackeys for Trump. He may regret it.
Wear a mask or get out says
Wow, this is so true! If they can’t wear a mask to protect others while in grocery store, stores, etc. then stay home. We who have to get groceries, etc, and are wearing our masks have the right to be protected by others wearing their masks. If you dont want to wear a mask, stay the hell home. DeSantis will be joining ranks with the guy in Brazil and The Lone Ranger in DC. None of whom care about anything but their looks, not our rights, but the rights of a constitution written a few hundred years ago and I am sure they did not mean for people to not wear masks and kill others. In NY, yes they shame others not wearing a mask and tell them to get out of the store. Good for them. A city with millions of people and their numbers have dropped drastically, yet ours keep going up. Wonder why? Lack of leadership, guts, a govenor who gives a damn? And all it would take would be social distancing, wear a mask and wash hands frequently. How is this taking away anyone’s rights? When you won’t do it, you take away our rights to live, you idiots. DeSantis is a Trump groupie and that is so sad for the state of Florida, deathly sad….
Angela Mahler says
What does the constitution have to do with masks? Seat belts are mandatory and no one waves the constitution around.
I even stop at red lights!
Nothing. It’s a made-up right-wing propaganda tool to make this issue political. There is no article in the constitution that mentions anything about a violation of rights or personal freedoms by asking someone to do something in the interest of health. They like saying it’s a First Amendment issue but clearly they have not read the Constitution in a long time. Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, Breitbart, and Faux News Channel push this fake news and the people listening pass it on to others and it’s this cycle of lies that no matter how many times is disproven people speak it like it’s written somewhere by the founding fathers.
No shirt, no shoes, no service…just add masks and it’s the same general idea.
Masked Man says
My family took me to the new Mexican restaurant in Palm Coast for Father’s Day yesterday. The place was PACKED! We were the ONLY ones wearing masks (other than the employees). The food was great but with this type of unprotected gathering I feel certain there will be a LOT of new Covid cases in Flagler over the next 14 days. Watch for it.
@MaskedMan how does that mask work when eating and drinking 🤔
Of course, he won’t mandate it, he only does what Donald Trump tells him to do, DeSantis can’t make his own decisions he is a follower not a leader.
The people will remember him and how he let down the people in the State of Florida, he is useless and should go get a job shining Donald Trump’s shoes.
Just watch him on tv and hear his lies and propaganda that should give you a clue about what he is about.
The New Me says
I agree 100%. He will follow Donald Trump’s lead until the end.
I’m with DeSantis…wearing a mask does nothing but ease the fears of some people. It’s like a security blanket. If you want to wear one or if you want to hide under your bed behind closed door, go ahead!! Just don’t dictate what I need to to.
Then why has the spread slowed dramatically in areas that mandate masks?
The spread has slowed dramatically in the states that DID NOT REOPEN in May. Wait until three weeks after NY opens, the same spikes will occur. I wish we’d all understand that there is no getting around the virus. Masks or no masks.
Sad Times says
Well, Joe, you have just identified yourself as a USA citizen who cares ONLY about himself…and who is saying, by not wearing a mask…to hell with everyone else!
Mmm…whom does that sound like?! Remind you of someone?
DeSantis. . . . A complete trump sycophant. . . who cares only about political power! We are becoming the next virus epicenter because of DeSantis being a trump puppet! Lives are being endangered by him!!!!
Although I agree with you about the puppet we have in office in Tallahassee and to add his coward approach to not making mask mandatory to assist in saving lives, ” Lives are being endangered by him!!!!”, not really. People that do not like being told what to do, are the ones endangering their own lives. These same people are the ones way before our coward in office or his mentor King Trump, have been reckless for many years before these two unworthy souls took office.
Masked Man says
I’m REALLY confused. Everyone is telling me that when I wear a mask I’m protecting those around me. The CDC says, “Cloth face coverings may prevent the person wearing the mask from spreading respiratory droplets when talking, sneezing, or coughing. If everyone wears a cloth face covering when out in public, such as going to the grocery store, the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 can be reduced for the community. Since people may spread the virus before symptoms start, or even if people never have symptoms, wearing a cloth face covering may protect others around you. Face coverings worn by others may protect you from getting the virus from people carrying the virus.” They’re telling me that me and my family wearing a mask ***MAY*** prevent us from giving the virus to someone else. They say MAY. I don’t know what to believe any more.
Jane Gentile-Youd says
To my ‘fellow’ females who don’t know which of their constitutional rights are being violated by the wearing of a mask or being allowed to knowingly do something that you know can cause the death of someone else?
I just can’t wait to know when you find out you go voluntarily to the countries where woman must by their law wear full body Burkas and help them to demand their rights to refuse to wear a Burka just like you did with a two bit 2 ounce mask.!
The Governor, unfortunately, is giving up his independence which I respected to become one of the gang – he sure knows that just like the Mafia – you betta behave or you know what might happen..to you $$$$$$$$$$$$$$wise.
Diane Cocchiola says
All I can say is that DeSantis needs to stop listening to the clown in the White House and start listing to the Doctors who know more than either of them regarding the wearing of masks. I don’t leave home without one. Blaming the rise in our numbers on farm and construction workers will not fly. The next thing he will cut back on testing so our numbers will stay low. Word to the wise Gov 2022 is coming and we will not forget how you handled this medical emergency.
Very simple. Wear a mask when you are inside a store. Take it off when your outside away from people. Hey I do not like wearing it either. But I would rather be safe then sorry. If you plan on flying get ready to wear one as soon as you enter the airport. Our commissioners in Flagler County need to be proactive.
( He’s an immoral idiot,) and not only that! He is a moron. I will stop going any place that will not require masks. I see these people in Publix that will crawl over you for anything they want! with no respect for anyone, and not wearing a mask. It is my safety and yours, that matter, not these selfish assholes that don’t care. The new Mexican place that opened last Monday, is a JOKE no one was wearing a mask. I ordered for take out. I walked in received my order, gave then a $ 20.00 my bill was 12 and change…they came back with 7 and said they don’t do change….I laughed and said I will never come back. But the girl said if I really want my change she would get it!
The food was just ok! not like real Mexican food in California where the real stuff is! lol
Be safe and wear a mask.
Our governor; A man with a blind spot larger than Trumps. Make mask mandatory until this outbreak passes. But of course you have those that could careless anyway and would not wear one because they think their invincible.
Trailer Bob says
Might have to update your article here, as I believe the Governor has made it mandatory for restaurants and bars to make all people wear some type of mask and stay distance, or they will lose their licenses.
Sounds god to me.
Enforcement of social distancing, yes, but we’ve yet to see the governor issue any kind of mask mandate.
Trailer Bob says
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a warning to Florida’s bars and restaurants on Tuesday: Follow coronavirus guidelines or risk having your license suspended. DeSantis said during a news conference in Orlando that Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears, whom DeSantis called “the grim reaper for business licenses,” will be cracking down on violators.
The warning from the governor comes one day after a popular Central Florida bar where dozens of workers and patrons have come down with coronavirus had its alcohol license suspended. It happened Monday after a state inspector found patrons weren’t socially distancing and following other rules meant to slow the virus’ spread. State officials say at least 13 employees and 28 patrons have tested positive for COVID-19 at The Knight’s Pub near the University of Central Florida campus.
Since someone not wearing a mask could potentially kill me would a “stand your ground ” defense work if I put a bullet in their head?
“A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”
How sad! I’d like to have a shirt printed saying “I love you, thank you for wearing a mask” perhaps some industrious conscientious high schoolers could sell them raising money and donating to a worthy cause. Seniors and millennials working together,
Putting our negative beliefs behind us, serving an example for the rest of the state, the rest of our country. Let’s do it Palm Coast, save lives,
Frank W says
Oh course, Ron wont do a thing in spite the increasing infection rates. Please, do something, anything to stop this.
Let’s goodbye to Ron in November folks!