DeSantis Says COVID Mandates Are ‘Dead on Arrival’ in Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis said that Florida won’t be re-imposing any COVID-19 mask or vaccine mandates during a Thursday news conference.
DeSantis Says COVID Mandates Are ‘Dead on Arrival’ in Florida
Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during the Moms for Liberty Joyful Warriors national summit at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown in Philadelphia on June 30, 2023. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
Jack Phillips

Florida won’t be reimposing any COVID-19 mask or vaccine mandates, Gov. Ron DeSantis says.

The governor, a 2024 Republican presidential candidate, made the announcement after schools in other states have opted to bring back mask mandates or recommendations for students. Meanwhile, some colleges are requiring vaccine booster shots, and one is mandating that students who test positive for the virus quarantine outside of their on-campus dorm housing.

“Even today, parts of our country are forcing children to wear masks in the classroom,” Mr. DeSantis said during a Sept. 7 news conference. “Those mandates are [dead on arrival] in Florida, and we will protect parents and children from this perpetual COVID hysteria.”

“You think that they just won’t try anything new again, and then they always try to figure something out,” he said, referring to health officials and politicians who pushed for lockdowns and vaccine mandates. “If you give these people an inch, they will take a mile.”

The news conference featured a number of vaccine mandate critics, including Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, a Jacksonville woman who opposed mandates, and another Florida woman who said that she has suffered health issues since receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Mr. DeSantis was an early proponent of ending mandates in 2020 and opted to reopen his state for tourism, allowing him to become a rising star among Republicans, which may have ultimately propelled him into the 2024 presidential race. He did close down schools in March 2020 after COVID-19 cases were first reported on U.S. soil, but in July 2020, he issued an order requiring them to open for in-person instruction.

The governor, who’s trailing former President Donald Trump by more than 30 percentage points in recent polls, has frequently touted during his 2024 campaign how his administration handled COVID-19. While governor, Florida passed a range of laws that prohibited COVID-19-related mandates that were imposed by local governments and businesses.

“We see all this stuff. And we see that they are not following the science,” Mr. DeSantis said on Sept. 7. “They are trying to follow a narrative. They are trying to follow an agenda. I can tell you here in Florida, we did not, and we will not allow the dystopian visions of paranoid hypochondriacs [to] control our health policies, let alone our state.”

It comes as a handful of hospitals, schools, and other private businesses have announced the reimposition of mask mandates, drawing ire from Republicans and other groups. Those opposed to mandates have cited a bevy of studies over the years that suggest face coverings don’t prevent the transmission of the virus.

A school in Silver Spring, Maryland, said on Sept. 5 that a classroom of children as well as teachers would be required to wear masks again for a 10-day period after several COVID-19 cases were confirmed among students in the class.

A health care worker wheels in a stretcher to the emergency room at Oakbend Medical Center in Richmond, Texas, on July 15, 2020. (Mark Felix/AFP /AFP via Getty Images)
A health care worker wheels in a stretcher to the emergency room at Oakbend Medical Center in Richmond, Texas, on July 15, 2020. (Mark Felix/AFP /AFP via Getty Images)

A few other schools, including at least one in Alabama, have also mandated masks because of a reported rise in COVID-19 cases. Morris Brown College in Atlanta on Aug. 20 implemented a two-week mask mandate, which ended on Sept. 3, according to reports.

On Sept. 5, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement that the state would be providing schools with more masks and COVID-19 tests. She said districts need to review the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance about the virus and schools, which doesn’t currently recommend masks.

“Thankfully, kids in Florida will not have to go through this. ...  since [Gov. Ron DeSantis] PERMANENTLY BANNED school mask mandates [two] years ago,” the DeSantis War Room wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, in response to the Silver Spring mask mandate.
The White House announced on Sept. 4 that First Lady Jill Biden had tested positive for COVID-19. Officials, including White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, said that President Joe Biden will wear a mask indoors for a period of time again, although he will “remove his mask when sufficiently distanced from others.”

President Trump released a video several days ago urging Americans to “not comply” with any future COVID-19 mandates and accused those who push them of engaging in tyranny.

Additionally, Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) introduced a bill this week that would ban federal agencies from requiring masks. In a release, the freshman senator said that his Freedom to Breathe Act “would prevent the reimposition of federal mask mandates for domestic air travel, public transit systems, and primary, secondary, and post-secondary schools,” while urging its passage.

Meanwhile, there have been reports claiming that federal agencies such as the CDC and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are gearing up to reimpose mandates, including masking, starting in the fall. A TSA spokesperson told The Epoch Times last month that such claims are false, and a CDC spokesperson said in an email last week that COVID-19 hospitalizations are relatively low in 96 percent of the United States.

Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X:
Related Topics