Gov. Ron DeSantis: COVID-related mask mandates will never return to Florida

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said COVID-related mask mandates will never return to the state amid a rise in cases across the U.S. 

During a press conference in Jacksonville on Thursday morning, the governor doubled down on Florida's "freedom" and said the state won't budge when it comes to enacting COVID-related policies and mask mandates. 

"They are trying to do this again," DeSantis said about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Anthony Fauci and other states pushing for and implementing updated COVID-19 policies in recent weeks. "And what we in the state of Florida will say is, ‘No, we are not letting you get away with it again.’"

COVID-related hospitalizations increased nearly 19% between August 13-17 while deaths rose nearly 18% between August 20-26, FOX News reports, citing the CDC. These numbers, however, remain below the most recent spike in January 2023.

DeSantis said requiring students to wear cloth masks and college students to take mRNA booster shots is a "disgrace," adding that the efficacy of both is low. 

"You as a parent can send your kid to school and the school can't force them to wear a muzzle all day," DeSantis said. "They're allowed to breathe." 


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Earlier this week, the former White House chief medical advisor said in an interview he is "concerned that people will not abide by recommendations," according to FOX News

"I would hope that if we get to the point that the volume of cases is such and organizations like the CDC recommends – CDC does not mandate anything – recommends that people wear masks, I would hope that people abide by that recommendation and take into account the risks to themselves and their families," Fauci told CNN.

He also said the "data is less strong" when it comes to masks and their effect on the pandemic as a whole, but there's an advantage to wearing them on an "individual basis."


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The first lady is experiencing "mild symptoms" and will remain at her home in Delaware, the White House said.

DeSantis' remarks should come to no surprise. The governor established the Public Health Integrity Committee last year, a group dedicated to assessing federal public health guidance to ensure that Florida’s public health policies are tailored for Florida’s communities and priorities, according to a press release. 

He also petitioned for a statewide grand jury to "investigate crimes and wrongdoing committed against Floridians related to the COVID-19 vaccine," the statement continued. 

"You also have a right as a Floridian to earn a living, regardless of whether you want to take the latest COVID-19 booster shot or not," he said Thursday. "They can't make you do it in Florida."

Lastly, in 2021, DeSantis was the first in the country to sign legislation that "protected Floridians from losing their jobs due to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and protect parents’ rights to make healthcare decisions for students."