DeSantis vows no lockdowns or mandates in Florida as omicron variant hits the state

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday that he would not allow ‘Fauci-ism' to be imposed on Florida residents as he vowed no restrictions or mandates as officials identified a "presumptive case" of the omicron variant in the Sunshine State.

"In Florida, we won't let them lock ya down, we won't let them restrict you, we're not gonna let them impose mandates, we're not gonna let them close the schools," said DeSantis following a speech at a park in Oldsmar, located just west of Tampa.

"We are gonna protect your freedom to make your decisions," he said, noting that if residents in the state feel they need to lockdown "that is absolutely their decision in a free society."

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"You don't impose Fauci-ism on the whole country or on a whole state. It's wrong" DeSantis added, touting Florida's low number of coronavirus cases.

A Florida department of health official said Tuesday that the state had discovered a "presumptive case" of the omicron strain.

"Since the pandemic’s beginning, the Department has conducted genomic sequencing and maintains surveillance of emerging variants in Florida," the official said. "As a result of these continuous and diligent efforts, the Department quickly identified a presumptive case of the Omicron variant in Florida."

DeSantis took aim at governors who are imposing restrictions on residents in certain states. "It's a free country, so when people are in bad environments – when you have states that don't know how to fight crime, when you have states that are locking people down, mandating them, doing a lot of stupid things – people look for greener pastures."

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"This is something that you have to deal with," the governor said of COVID-19, asserting that a widespread lockdown will not help matters.

DeSantis' remarks were made during a speech announcing a 3-year plan to assist with flooding in Florida which includes a $270 million investment for 76 projects across the state.

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