Despite the fact that every American over the age of 15 is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, Florida’s Democrats are not ready to return to normal.

Instead, they are bashing Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who Monday signed an executive order banning local governments from requiring mask mandates.

Star News Education Foundation Journalism Project
“The Executive Order he just signed is just so hypocritical to the so-called values of the party of small government,” state Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando) told The Orlando Sentinel. “It was local governments that led the way in protecting their people and putting into play standards that helped to stop the spread of COVID-19 … and holding businesses accountable who were not following the best procedures.”

Florida has imposed relatively few COVID-19 restrictions, and is now completely open for business. Despite that, it has fewer deaths from the virus, just more than 35,000, than New York, a state with a comparable total population which implemented devastating COVID-19 lockdowns. New York has almost 52,000 deaths from the virus, and its Democrat governor is under federal investigation for potentially endangering the lives of seniors with his COVID-19 policies, and allegedly lying about the state’s nursing home death toll.

Still, Florida Democrats insist that DeSantis is acting irresponsibly, and they are taking credit for Florida’s relative success during the pandemic.

“To be clear, cities like St. Pete, Tampa, Orlando, Miami and Miami Beach, saved Florida and the governor’s behind throughout this pandemic,” Rick Kriseman, Mayor of St. Petersburg said on Twitter. “Can you imagine if each city had been led by Ron DeSantis? How many lives would have been lost? What would our economy look like today?”

The Mayor of Orange County, Jerry Demings, said Monday night that DeSantis was part of a larger conspiracy of Republicans at the national level to take control of Democrat-run cities.

“When I ask myself, ‘What is really the purpose of the governor’s actions?’ I conclude that his actions are part of a larger partisan strategy by the Republican Party to usurp the authority of Democrat-led urban counties and cities across America,” Demings said. “We expect better from the governor of Florida.”

The mayor of Miami Beach was angered by the executive order, too.

“It feels like he’s spiking the ball on the 10-yard line,” Mayor Dan Gelber said. “He’s been following political ideology more than science during this whole pandemic.”

State Rep. Fentrice Driskell (D-Tampa) called the executive order ” a move in the wrong direction.”

Driskell also criticized DeSantis for signing SB 2006 into law. That law bans companies and other organizations in the state from requiring vaccine passports.

“It’s been an interesting sort of role reversal that we’re seeing with Republican leadership where they keep trying to tell businesses and corporations how to do their job and how to run their business,” Driskell said. “It’s just, it’s very strange to me. And again, I think a move in the wrong direction.”

Proponents of the vaccine passport ban, including DeSantis, say it is about the personal liberty of individuals.

Notably, the Monday executive order banning local mask mandates does not stop businesses from requiring masks, and only affects local governments.

– – –

Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Ron DeSantis” by Gage Skidmore CC 2.0.