Gov. Ron DeSantis Accused of ‘Killing Spree’ for Extending Order Blocking Shutdowns and Mask Enforcement

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a law enforcement memorial service at the Capitol Monday April 29, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)
AP Photo/Steve Cannon

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has been on the receiving end of criticism following his decision to extend an order blocking the shutdown of businesses and the enforcement of mask mandates across the Sunshine State, with one notable Democrat accusing him of continuing a “killing spree.”

This week, DeSantis extended his September order, which lifted key coronavirus restrictions in the state. The order allowed bars and restaurants to operate at full capacity at the state level and set the ground rule that businesses can operate at a minimum of 50 percent capacity regardless of local restrictions. It essentially placed the burden on local governments, requiring them to justify further restrictions to the state before implementation.

Florida “continues to suffer economic harm as a result of COVID-19 related closures, exacerbating the impacts of the State of Emergency, and Floridians should not be prohibited by local governments from working or operating a business,” an extension of the order read.

Additionally, DeSantis’s order suspended fines and enforcement of local mask mandates. The governor’s extension of the order drew ire from Democrats across the board.

“Alternate headline: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Continues Killing Spree,” said Chris King, the 2018 Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor who ran alongside DeSantis’s failed gubernatorial challenger Andrew Gillum:

“I. Have. No. Words. Anymore,” epidemiologist Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, a senior fellow in the Federations of American Scientists, said:

Florida mayors, some of whom have called for a statewide mask mandate, have also expressed frustration. Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava called the governor’s action “deeply frustrating”:

DeSantis has long promised to refrain from instituting stringent lockdown orders again, and his office reiterated last week that they remain focused on protecting the most vulnerable in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

“The Governor will not lock down and hurt families who can’t afford to shelter in place for 6 weeks. Especially not for a virus that has a 99.8 percent survival rate,” his office stated last week.

Florida added 8,376 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the statewide cumulative total to 961,676 ahead of Thanksgiving. The Florida Department of Health did not release updated numbers on the holiday.

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