PORT ORANGE, Fla. – At a news conference Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said that Florida will not be locked down because of the coronavirus. He said that Florida is open and is welcoming people and that “they just need to use common sense.”
He also disagreed with public health messaging about getting the vaccine. “You tell people to get the vaccine and then you live your life. When you tell them you have to abide by all these restrictions — I think it’s odd to tell people to get the vaccine and nothing changes. But the whole reason to get the vaccine is to not have to worry.”
(See Gov. Ron DeSantis press conference below.)
Referring to Joe Biden’s prime-time speech, he referred to the president saying that lockdown restrictions could be imposed. “Let me just tell you, there are no lockdowns in Florida. It’s not going to happen,” DeSantis said to a cheering crowd.
“Florida’s open and people can make decisions based on information. We’re not going to have government dictate to people. If you want to come to Bike Week come to Bike Week; if you don’t, don’t come,” DeSantis said, referring to the expected 300,000 people to the annual rally who are expected to descend on Daytona Beach, Fla., this week. The governor told the crowd that following his press conference he, his wife and their two children were going to stop at Bike Week.
DeSantis said he is proud that people are coming to Florida. “It’s almost like you are in a different universe,” he said comparing Florida’s ease of restrictions to other states such as Michigan and California.
On Thursday, DeSantis signed an executive order that waives fines from local governments’ coronavirus pandemic restrictions.
DeSantis’ messaging is troubling to officials in South Florida who are concerned about Spring Break activities becoming a series of super spreader events that will drive up positivity rates.
The governor also confirmed that vaccine access to people 60 and older will begin Monday.
As of Friday morning, Publix had already opened its vaccine scheduling portal to the expanded 60 and older group.
Miami-Dade County’s Mayor Daniella Levine Cava sent a letter to the governor asking that he consider lowering the minimum age requirement by 10 years every two weeks.