DeSantis’ promise: No more lockdowns, no face mask mandates

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Monday that Floridians should not expect any more lockdowns or state mask mandates during the coronavirus pandemic because he doesn’t believe these work.

Epidemiologists recommend the community use of face masks because the coronavirus infection is transmitted mostly by respiratory droplets that people generate when they cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“People in Florida wear them when they go out,” DeSantis said. “I don’t think you have to (be) strung up by a bayonet to do it. Fining people is totally overboard.”

Mayors in South Florida, both Republicans and Democrats, disagree with DeSantis and want to be able to enforce the guidelines and restrictions that help to save the lives of the most vulnerable people in their communities.

Researchers have found face mask mandates, a massive and sustained scale-up of testing capacity, and lockdowns have been fundamental in preventing an explosion in the number of cases, according to the CDC.

“The lie of the lockdown is that if you just locked down then you can ... beat the virus,” DeSantis said. “Then why are people having to lockdown two or three times then?”

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said DeSantis’ message is dangerous and he said his city’s officers are issuing face mask citations once again.

“All we are asking and pleading with the governor to do is use his bully pulpit to tell people to wear masks ... This is sort of absurd,” Gelber said. “It’s not healthy and it’s going to end up killing people.”

About the Authors:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.