In an act of what many are calling "government overreach," Governor DeSantis has stripped local authorities of their powers to make COVID-related decisions. As of immediately, local emergency orders for COVID-19 are suspended through an executive action taken by the Florida governor.
This article looks at the reasoning that DeSantis has given us for his executive action, the response it has triggered within the community, and what it means for Floridians.
DeSantis Says Local Authorities Cannot Place COVID-19 Restrictions
On Monday, May 3rd, Governor DeSantis signed an order that overrides the local authorities within the state. Instead of allowing them to decide how they want to handle the COVID-19 pandemic within their communities, DeSantis has suspended their emergency orders. This suspension comes at a time while Florida is still reporting thousands of COVID infections per day.
DeSantis defends his executive decision (government overreach?) by saying that if you want to police people, you don't believe in vaccines.
“I think that’s the evidence-based thing to do. I think folks that are saying they need to be policing people at this point, if you’re saying that, then you’re really saying you don’t believe in the vaccines.”
Apparently, then, the CDC doesn't believe in the vaccines, because according to the CDC, there should still be restrictions in place. Their guidelines still say to wear a mask, stay six feet apart, and avoid poorly ventilated areas...and yes, get a vaccine. However, getting a COVID vaccine does not mean the other prevention steps are unnecessary.
Furthermore, only 30% of adults in Florida are fully vaccinated, meaning they have received the final shot in their series and the two required weeks have passed. Only 30% of adults are protected, and yet, our governor has decided to override local governments and COVID restrictions.
For what? It's safe to say that that does not seem like the actions of someone who cares about public health and safety. It seems like the actions of someone who cares about business and money.
The Public's Response
Many people are critiquing DeSantis's actions regarding COVID. From the start of the pandemic, many people have not agreed with his methods. Now that this executive order is signed, many more people disagree with him.
State Rep. Fentrice Driskell disagreed with DeSantis's new order:
“It’s easy to forget we are still in the midst of a global pandemic. We still have new strains of this virus that are running rampant."
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist also commented on the new executive order:
"Governor DeSantis’ actions today strip local leaders of their ability to make decisions that protect their citizens. It’s government overreach at its worst."
In addition to officials who disagree with the new executive order, many people within the communities disagree as well.
What does this mean for Florida now?
It will be up to individuals to protect themselves to the best of their abilities. The new order makes it difficult for local governments to put necessary restrictions in place. Hopefully, the state will have a higher percentage of adults fully vaccinated soon to combat the COVID pandemic.