TALLAHASSEE, FL – According to reports, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an Executive Order on Monday that immediately bans all remaining COVID-19-related lockdown restrictions throughout the state – in addition to the use of so-called vaccine passports, which serve of proof of vaccination – completely reopening the state following over a year of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The DeSantis Executive Order overrides all restrictions implemented by local cities, towns, and municipalities, including mandates that compel mask-wearing, reports say. The order, however, does not overrule restrictions that have been put into place by public schools.
DeSantis spoke to the Tampa Bay Times, claiming that the state’s vaccine rollout has been a great success and that lifting all remaining restrictions related to COVID-19 was the best course of action to take based on the evidence.
“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,” he said. “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.”
DeSantis’ Executive Order only cements a previous one that the Governor issued in March, when he waived pandemic-related fines against individuals and businesses – retroactive to March 1 of 2020 – already making any local restrictions useless.
“As we’ve seen, there have been unprecedented restrictions imposed on people, particularly on the local government level, on both individuals and businesses,” DeSantis said at the time. “Many of these restrictions, I think, have been ineffective, and I think they’ve unfairly penalized people.”
The timing of DeSantis’ Executive Order is unusual, as just last week the Florida Governor issued a 60-day extension for the state’s pandemic Emergency Declaration. It is not currently known what has changes since then.