Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis has enacted an executive order removing all COVID restrictions from his state and even followed it up with a bill that limits local Democrats from enforcing emergency precautions.
“I believe that is the best evidence-based action to take,” DeSantis told the press during his announcing of his order. “People are saying we need to police people, but if you say that, then you don’t believe in the vaccines.”
DeSantis enacted SB 2006, which states that any covid orders can last no more than six weeks. It gives him the ability to overrule local officials that pass restrictions said to be too extreme or unneeded, and gives local councils the power to overrule their mayors.
It also gives the Florida legislature the power to overrule the governor on restrictions, which DeSantis said was a check against any future Democrat. While businesses can still force masks, local governments cannot.
“The legislature said, ‘What if we were in a California situation?’” DeSantis said, touching on the coastal state’s severe coronavirus restrictions. “What would the government be able to do? And so they put protections in place for Florida.”
Democrats, however, slammed the bill, saying that Republicans were being hypocritical and criticized DeSantis’s leadership through the covid pandemic.
“The order he signed is hypocritical to the values of his own party which says it supports small government,” said Democratic state Representative Anna Eskamani. “It was local governments that led in protecting the public and enacted standards that helped to prevent the spread of coronavirus.”
The Governor’s bill also prevents businesses from requiring “vaccine passports,” supporting an earlier executive order which DeSantis signed last month.