Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been somewhat of a maverick in issuing statewide orders throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but his supporters say he has generally been on the right side of the issue.
This week, he announced perhaps his most impactful move yet, effectively removing all COVID-19 restrictions across Florida and sending his rivals in the Democratic Party and mainstream media into a tailspin, as reported by ABC News.
“It affects elderly people”
Even as the infection rate continues to climb across the U.S., the mortality rate has largely leveled off and the economy is restarting at varying paces in every corner of the nation.
President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has argued that the only Americans at significant risk of dying from the virus are the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions.
“Now we know it,” he said at a rally earlier this month. “It affects elderly people. Elderly people with heart problems and other problems. But they have other problems, that’s what it really affects, that’s it.”
Trump cited “a strong immune system” as among the possible reasons that “in some states, thousands of people” have been infected with the virus, but “nobody young.”
Unlike other states that have reopened in recent weeks with limitations and mandates requiring the use of face masks, DeSantis is rolling the dice in hopes that his state can be the first to fully open up in the wake of the global pandemic.
“Every business has the right to operate,” the governor said. “Some of the locals can do reasonable regulations, but you can’t just say no.”
Prior to his most recent statement, businesses and customers could be held liable for violations of face mask mandates.
As for what constitutes “reasonable regulations” at the local level, the governor’s order indicates that officials will not be allowed to limit restaurant seating to less than 50% occupancy. Furthermore, localities will reportedly be required to obtain approval for any seating restrictions at all.
Florida has a total of more than 700,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 14,000 deaths as of Tuesday. More than 380,000 of those cases are considered to be active.
Time will tell whether the governor’s all-in approach to reopening will pay off in the long run, but Americans of all stripes are hoping it will be a sign of good things to come across the country.