Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Rules Out New Round of Lockdowns, Mask Mandates

The governor signed a bill in May limiting the power of state and local officials to impose emergency public health orders.


While other jurisdictions toy with reinstituting public health restrictions in response to rising COVID-19 cases, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) says that his state won't go in for another round of lockdowns and mask mandates.

"If anyone is calling for lockdowns, you're not getting that done in Florida. I'm going to protect people's livelihoods. I'm going to protect kids' right to go to school. I'm going to protect people's right to run their small businesses," DeSantis said at a press conference in Fort Pierce, Florida, yesterday. "We have three vaccines that have been widely available for months and months now. People need to make decisions what's right for them."

In Florida, just like the nation as a whole, COVID-19 cases are increasing thanks to the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant of the virus. The state's cases have increased nearly eight-fold since the beginning of July. About one in four new COVID infections are happening in Florida, reports The Hill.

There has been a significant increase in hospitalizations in the state, The New York Times reported today. Some 70 percent of inpatient hospital beds are occupied in the state, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dashboard.

Nevertheless, Covid deaths have risen much less dramatically. The state's 7-day average of deaths was 34 as of yesterday, up from 30 at the beginning of July. COVID deaths are down 94 percent since December, reports the Miami Herald.

"These vaccines are saving lives. They are reducing mortality," DeSantis said earlier this week.

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said during a CNBC segment yesterday that this current wave of cases would continue to increase through the end of August and then likely subside.

Florida has essentially been free of Covid restrictions since May. That month, DeSantis issued an executive order suspending all local states of emergency. He also signed a bill that requires local emergency orders to be "narrowly tailored" to serve a "compelling public health or safety purpose." That bill also capped the number of days a local emergency order could be extended for, and it made it easier for the state legislature to overturn the governor's state-level emergency policies.

DeSantis has also pardoned people convicted of violating Covid restrictions and canceled any fines they'd have to pay.

Florida provides a contrast to states like California, which only officially ditched most of its pandemic regulations, including capacity limits on businesses and offices, on June 15. Rising COVID cases have prompted Los Angeles County to reinstate its mask mandate, even for the vaccinated, and threaten further restrictions still. Other California counties have merely recommended people, regardless of vaccination status, don their masks again.

Reimposing restrictions on the vaccinated, particularly when deaths are the lowest they've been since the beginning of the pandemic, might actually be counter-productive to public health.

"For young, healthy residents who understand that they face little personal risk from COVID-19, the freedom to eschew masks may be one of the most appealing aspects of vaccination," wrote Reason's Jacob Sullum last week. "So far 61 percent of Los Angeles County residents 16 or older are fully vaccinated, and this mask rule does not seem like a good strategy for pushing that number up."

At least in Florida, policymakers are resisting the urge to create that disincentive.

NEXT: The UK Beat COVID-19, But Can It Beat Lockdowns?

Florida Coronavirus Public Health emergency declaration

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110 responses to “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Rules Out New Round of Lockdowns, Mask Mandates

  1. Makes sense. The mask mandates have been demonstrably ineffective. And the virus is dangerous mostly to those who are too old or too unhealthy to be in the workforce, so why lock healthy people at low risk out of their businesses? Lockdowns make even less sense now when proven effective vaccines are widely available.

    1. I would love to see a breakdown of the percentage of covid deaths that were employed at the time of their death.

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    2. Oh they don’t care about how effective a measure is or is not, they won’t do it anyhow. Vaccines are highly effective and those idiots still don’t get it. The whole point is to be stubborn and “own the libs”.

      1. That’s not the point. The point is to have the choice.
        If you are vaccinated, why do you care? If someone fears the risk, and has a legitimate reason to fear the risk, what business is it of yours?
        Here’s an example. I have a friend with a medical issue that is concerned that adding additional risk to his already not stabilized issue is more risk than he is willing to take. Is he ‘owning the libs’? Or just owning his own choice?
        Are you vaccinated? You feel it is effective? Then STFU about everyone else and what they choose. You are safe according to your assessment and that is all that matters.
        Leave everyone else to choose, get sick, maybe discover a comorbidity they were not aware of and help us move to the next level of immunity. Sometimes, the stronger survive for a reason.

        1. Because the vaccine is 97% effective thus vaccinated people can still get sick. Also vaccinated people are intentionally driving up health care cost. Now if we had a rule that if you were not vaccinated and got covid then you would not be allowed to get treatment I would be ok with that.

          1. “Also vaccinated people are intentionally driving up health care cost.”

            Maybe you should stop demanding that health care be socialized, then? We’re not the ones who demanded you be liable for other people’s health expenses.

            You are.

            1. Unless you pay for all of your health care out of your own pocket then you share health care costs with others. That is how the insurance model works.

              1. Welcome to paying the ICU bills for the unvaxxed.

                1. I get stuck paying for lots of stupid decision made by other poeple.
                  Mortgage bailouts come to mind, their are hundreds of others.
                  Out rights have abrogated in the name of public health. Except the rights being trampled did NOTHING for public health.
                  But the constitution does not provide a “but health” exception.

                  The stupid part it believing the govt will keep you healthy. You just move about and live your life, ignore your surroundings, ignore the risks, and demand the govt control all others for your safety.
                  If you’re scared of covid you assume everyone else is infected and live you life accordingly. Don’t force others to do your work.

          2. Now if we had a rule that if you were not vaccinated and got covid then you would not be allowed to get treatment I would be ok with that
            Because you are a monster.

            1. I see Molly subscribes to the JFree school of being a totalitarian asshole.

            2. And we think that those who intentionally spread a deadly virus are monsters.

        2. WHY DO THE VACCINATED CARE? We care because we don’t want ourselves or others to die. We don’t want to be the cause of someone else’s demise. We care because we want to deprive the potentially deadly virus a host to mutate and live on to kill others. We care because our CHILDREN are among the UNVACCINATED who are UNPROTECTED. We care because we aren’t soulless.

          1. Mick – you’re weak and unworthy of life, which is why you’re a collectivist neurotic who can’t take care of he/himself/her/herself.
            Do not come to Florida.

      2. Get vaccinated, wear the mask, protect yourself from infection. The vax will not keep you from being infected, it protects you from DYING from being infected & helps your body fight off coronavirus if you contract it.

        DeSantis’s decisions endanger anyone who isn’t vaxxed who visits or lives in FL.

    3. My city / county just announced on Friday that the mask mandate is back starting Monday – vaccinated or not, indoors or out.

      We have about 1500 cases in a metro area of 3 million. 99.6% unvaccinated people.

      Vote them all out.

  2. When DeSantis is up against Trump in 2023/24 I wonder how much play he can get by clubbing Trump over the head with his unwillingness to force reopening on the lockdown-forever crowd running the states.

    1. That would be a hard slog. First, the only thing that Trump perhaps could have done is threaten to withhold federal money, and that tactic didn’t survive court challenges in far less contentious circumstances, so it would have been almost certain to fail for this.

      Second, prior to the election, it was a little difficult to tell which states were on lockdown vs those on permanent lockdown. That distinction didn’t really become apparent till April-May.

      The far better thing is to claim Trump policies but with less assholery.

      1. Whether or not doing anything was technically/legally possible isn’t the point during primary season. He could carve out a position that’s more Trump than Trump, and lean on his history as FL governor as proof.

      2. The power of the Federal govt to force states to open is just as much abuse as the federal govt forcing mask mandated. Its not about which side the Feds take, its about whether the feds poses that power.

    2. Yeah, that dictator, admitting states are constitutionally entitled to make policies different from what the federal government might like.

      1. You and I might know that, but I doubt your average primary voter cares about the details. I’m specifically wondering about it from a gamesmanship angle; I think right-wing antifederalism would be a pretty easy sell in the current environment, though it’s not what I’d prefer.

  3. Another article that doesn’t exist. Goes against the narrative that Reason is completely in the tank for Democrats and has never acknowledged anything good by Republicans.

    So move along. Don’t comment. Keep saying Reason hates Republicans.

    This article does not exist.

    1. “Hey everyone, please pay attention to me! Look at me, I’m white knighting for Reason! Does that make you mad? I don’t care, just give me attention!”

      1. White Mike is my idol and BFF

    2. Now you’re adopting white mikes mannerisms. Jeff, check, white Mike, check. Is next up adopting SPBs child porn habit?

    3. Really, dude?
      Didn’t you leave for another far more intelligent, engaging community because everyone here was so vapid and narrow?
      And here you are dropping a deuce on yet another Republican (almost) positive article with your same shtick. Not adding anything ‘intelligent’ to the discussion, just assuming the majority of posters, 3/4 of whom you professed to muting forever (but for the occasional peek at the comment), would respond to this article with like and kind.
      Even when you try to engage in a positive way you are contrary. Give it a rest.

      1. I haven’t muted 3/4 of the people here. Just the monkeys that poop in their hand and throw it at anyone who was mean to Trump.

        1. More mean girl posting about people, not ideas.

      2. Specifically JesseAz, R Mac, Mother’s Lament, Sevo, bucklup, Tulpa’s troll of the day (a moving target), and I think that’s about it. People who respond to posts with nothing but personal attacks.

        And if you think my original post was trolling, you must not read the comments. Articles like this do not exist. Reason has never said anything nice about Republicans. Ever. That’s the narrative. If you suggest otherwise then you voted for Biden.

        1. I’m trying to remember a single poster saying they NEVER post an article that is nice about Republicans. But as I’ve said before, I don’t read every article.

          1. The narrative is a constant, shrill, whining, dishonest refrain of Reason hating Republicans would be more accurate. I suppose NEVER was an extremely slight exaggeration.

        2. I pretty much only mute the advertizing bots. And Kirkland. That shit got tired about 5 years ago.

          Everyone else, even people I disagree with often, are visible. Sometimes it’s useful and even informative to see that stuff.

  4. Nevertheless, Covid deaths have risen much less dramatically. The state’s 7-day average of deaths was 34 as of yesterday, up from 30 at the beginning of July. COVID deaths are down 94 percent since December, reports the Miami Herald.

    Shit, that is nothing. Seriously.

    The LAMESTREAM MEDIA* keeps saying FL is a hotbed of Covid-Delta deaths.

    *footnote – Sarah gets credit for that.

    1. Then why do you act like a cunt all day?

      1. Because they pay me too.
        Not chemjeff or Laursen’s big Media Matters payouts, but it’s okay money.

        1. You’re doing a bad job. For pennies.

        2. NAMBLA thanks you for your efforts. Financially.

    2. Only among the unvaccinated…the vaccinated aren’t the ones dropping like flies in a cloud of Raid.

      1. lol – that’s a very unsubstantiated proclamation.

  5. Reimposing restrictions on the vaccinated, particularly when deaths are the lowest they’ve been since the beginning of the pandemic, might actually be counter-productive to public health.

    Nothing could be more libertarian than Reason’s limiting their arguments to the vaccinated. It’s not like the unvaccinated aren’t informed or aware. It’s not like they can meaningfully infect the vaccinated. So it’s pretty explicitly foresaking the “Torture is never acceptable.” stance for the much more pragmatic “Torture is OK for the holdouts.”

    1. *unvaxed are unpeople

    2. Actually they can meaningfully infect the vaccinated because the vaccines aren’t 100% effective. See that plane full of Texas Democrats who were fully vaccinated but still tested positive and continued to jetset about anyways.

      Whether you’re vaccinated or not you can still get sick, and whether you’re vaccinated or not you can still spread it to other people. The distinction between the two groups is pointless and shouldn’t be used as the basis for any policy.

      1. If you get vaccinated then you like masks, vote for Democrats, and live in fear.

        Real men don’t get the vaccine.

        1. Little early to make this little sense, hit the sauce early on Fridays?

          1. If by early you mean breakfast, yes.

          2. He claims he’s not a troll though.

            1. But he does have a bridge he would like to sell you…

              1. Just the upper floor. He wants to remain living under it.

      2. Who says they were vaccinated? The ‘good for you but not for me’ politicians who tested positive? The same ones who scream about everyone else wearing masks and would decry anyone on a plane not wearing a mask but go maskless themselves? Those people? Any of them admitting to not being vaccinated would be committing political suicide. Damn, you’re an easy sell.

        1. And being found to be unvaccinated while jetsetting about without a mask would also be political suicide, especially for someone in the “follow the science” party.

          You might be right, but I think it’s far more likely that they are vaccinated and caught COVID anyways because it mutates and the vaccines don’t actually stop you from getting infected.

        2. Still waiting for actual documentation of who infected who.
          Did the TX cowards fleeing their oath of office infect the swamp dwellers, or did the swamp dwellers do in those afraid to vote?

      3. Yeah, you don’t quite understand the difference between “testing positive” and “actually getting sick”. Immunity doesn’t mean you don’t contract a disease if exposed. It means your immune system curb stomps it before you feel bad.

        You’re catching things and not noticing all the time, dude. You only notice the rare illness your immune system doesn’t dispatch before it gets serious.

      4. WHICH makes the case for masking is back on. Mask up – you don’t know who is asymptomatic and coronavirus is counting on it to survive.

      5. well.. i’m sure they SAID they were vaccinated….

      6. Actually they can meaningfully infect the vaccinated because the vaccines aren’t 100% effective.

        That is NOT meaningful. EVERYONE is going to get infected by covid at some point. That was apparent the nanosecond anyone paying attention realized this was going to be a pandemic. That’s what pandemic means. The next step from pandemic is endemic (which happens at roughly herd immunity – which is NOT a goal but merely a measuring point) – not extinction.

        We will either become infected while unprotected with the vaccine – or infected while protected with the vaccine. We make our choice – and with the two exceptions of kids and hospital capacity, the choices of others does not matter.

        What CDC and public health people should be doing now is addressing co-morbidities that take a while to fix. Esp obesity and all the metabolic stuff. There is an opportunity cost here – since both ‘fixes’ involve hesitance and/or resistance. Address obesity or address unvaccinated. The answer is deal with the former since it has a significant effect on covid re hospital capacity – and has massive effects on total health costs/risks (including kids). But importantly – addressing obesity is NOT something done via emergency measures.

    3. The vaccinated are not uninformed or aware, they are just idiots.

      1. “The vaccinated are not uninformed or aware, they are just idiots.”

        Leaving this comment from moron MollyBitch for eternity.

        1. That’s a fantastic self-own.


      2. OBL, wonderful second account. Well done sir.

  6. Although I didn’t major in STEM, I did learn in college how to analyze and interpret data. That’s why I know DeSantis is personally responsible for this country’s worst covid disaster in Florida. (Andrew Cuomo’s New York, of course, had the best performance — he absolutely deserved that lucrative book deal.)


  7. >>In Florida, just like the nation as a whole, COVID-19 cases are increasing thanks to the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant of the virus.

    are you sure about this or are you repeating what you heard?

    1. It’s actually normal pathogen evolution. Pathogens tend to evolve to be more transmittable while be online less deadly.

      1. It’s also true that the longer you keep the bug around, the more chance you give it to create an endless stream of morphing variants, ultimately turning one into dozens, each of which are genetically different. While moving naturally and quickly through the population can be a very hard hit [and politically unpopular], it tends to burn itself out.

        “Flattening the Curve” was a reasonable rationale to not overwhelm medical services and learn how to treat it more effectively. But then it morphed into the stupid idea that you can achieve 100% elimination with masks and vaccines.

        Letting it burn through the population likely would have killed 3-4 times as many people in the short run, but allowing time for these variants to develop will kill far more cumulatively. And the longer it stays around, the more potential there is to develop a super variant that is not only more contagious but far deadlier.

        1. If that were the case, some virus in the past would have wiped us out by now.

    2. It’s super weird because all the metrics turned down the same time as last year, then turned up in the same places AND the same time as last year. It’s probably the rules that make the difference.

      Signed – A “seasonality theorist”

  8. “Some 70 percent of inpatient hospital beds are occupied in the state…”

    I’ve noticed that the hysterical fearmongers who love to throw around percentages like this never tell you what percent of beds are _normally_ occupied. It’s pretty hard to find out, too.

    1. About 70% is around break even in my experience working healthcare for decades. If it falls much below that hospitals start low censusing nurses and aids for budgetary reasons.

      1. And if you think about it for a second, it makes a lot of sense. I wonder how full people who see that stat and get scared think hospitals usually are? Do they think they are usually mostly empty?

        1. I’ve seen wards shut down because two surgeons took vacation at the same time.

      2. Same here, though I’ve seen it routinely in the 90% range seasonally, and that’s without any thing they are calling an epidemic. However, people presume when they hear numbers like 70-80% that it’s about the one thing they fear the most, and “we must do something. Someone just do some…thing”.

        The fact is that medical facilities have this down to a science and can predict closely what their bed and staff requirements will look like based on previous data. They will not sit around empty with staff sitting on their hands. Docs I know will tell you that it is well understood when hospitals are running in the red and there are unwritten and unstated expectations that they will “increase billables” by whatever means necessary.

      3. My hospital is always >70% full, if it isnt we are worried. Usually 85-90%.

        If we weren’t there, our admins would be losing their shit.

      4. The NJHA releases a quarterly report with this info to its members – it’s usually about 70%.

    2. When all they give you is snapshot in time percentages it is scare mongering.

      They never give you the actual numbers of total beds, nor tell you how that number has changed from the recent past. Because that number fluctuates as hospitals certify/decertify beds based upon demands and available staffing.

      No business, for profit or otherwise, can long survive it is constantly running well under capacity.

      1. There is a diff between hospitals 70% full of elective surgeries and 70% full of Covid patients in ICU. Hip replacements and not being able to breathe are two different categories of 70%.

        1. Yes. And what they are doing is taking the 2 people in the hospital 4 weeks ago and comparing that to the 7 people the hospital now and saying HOSPITALIZATIONS ARE UP OVER THREE TIMES!!!!1111

    3. Not to question what percent of that 70% are Communist Chinese Virus only.

    4. Right? You need contexts and baselines to compare things against. We don’t build hospitals with the expectation that they’re only ever going to operate at 10% capacity.

  9. These vaccines are saving lives. They are reducing mortality

    How can all the cases and deaths be in the unvaccinated but somehow the vaccine is reducing mortality?

    1. I think you just said it.

    2. Because it would be far worse if there was no vaccine.

      1. Define “far worse”. You cannot because you’re an ignorant leftie fuck.

      2. Thank Trump’s Operation Warp Speed

    1. Reason is the Lucky Pierre of commentary

  10. “Nevertheless, Covid deaths have risen much less dramatically. The state’s 7-day average of deaths was 34 as of yesterday, up from 30 at the beginning of July.”

    If this lack of dramatic increase in fatalities holds, and hospitals are not overwhelmed in the meantime, then the DeSantis “plan” (or anti-plan) should work out splendidly.

    The beginning of July was about three weeks ago. The time lag between covid-19 cases and deaths shows that deaths often occur 2-8 weeks after hospitalization.

    Nearly half of floridians are unvaccinated. If the unvaccinated population is young enough and unfat enough to survive infection with the delta variant, then 5 weeks from now the fatality rate should still be low.

    But during the next 5 weeks, hospitalizations are bound to increase, and the time lag for those deaths will be further into the future.

    So, the preliminary verdict on the DeSantis plan will be around the end of August, with continuing verdicts ongoing until the infection and hospitalization rates plateau.

    The good news for libertarians is that even if the death rate increases substantially, DeSantis is highly likely to stick to his plan regardless. This is what Kristi Noem calls “grit”.

    1. It’s not a plan, it’s just letting people die!!1!1!1!

      /s if it wasn’t obvious

    2. It’s not grit, it’s stupidity and trying to appeal to the [unvaccinated] base. FYI: DeSantis is vaccinated. HE thinks he’s untouchable.

      1. Florida hasn’t done any worse than anywhere else. What’s stupid is continuing to insist that lockdowns and masks are worthwhile despite lots of evidence to the contrary.

    3. We’ve been open and operating like a normal society for a year, dumbass.

    4. About half of all Floridians also have natural immunity which is more robust than than being vaccinated.




      Etc…there are many more papers/studies that show this.

  11. Good idea from your next president.

    1. Yes, he is.

    2. DeSantis is a self-serving stooge. For Trump and the GOP now, and gawdonlyknows who once he starts to run as Trump’s VP or for POTUS. He is 100% bought and paid for now by the GOP faction. He’s smarter than Trump, and more dangerous should he prevail. Vote Blue if you value your quality of life.

      1. You’re booked for a helicopter ride.

  12. “limiting the power of state” — Now that’s gotta be a Republican.

  13. Thankfully, our Florida Guv recognizes that masks are not a disease preventive measure as much as they are a political statement, and essentially is telling the rest of the world, “we’re not going to mask up and lock down Florida anymore.” Because he knows that most of the “mask up/lock down” edicts are purely political in nature and basically accomplish nothing. Bottom line, we really like DeSantis down here in “Flor-ri-duh.”

  14. Florida has the most cases and deaths in America. De Santis is killing his own people for political gain.

    1. “Most Cases”? What is that; like 1-in-a-Million that were *free* to wear whatever protective gear they found necessary yet didn’t??

      Sure, sure; Everything that happens is never people’s fault or even just coincidence… It’s all the almighty Gov-Gods fault. Faithfully yet insanely preaches the Nazi. After all — if the Gov-Gods can legislate the weather surely they can legislate disease from the world too.

      Your ‘God’ is not my ‘God’ so keep your religion to yourself and stop pretending religious Gov-Gun-Force must be imposed on everyone ……….. JUST AS THE NAZI’S DID!

  15. Thank you Governor DeSantis!
    We love you here in Florida.
    Our economy is booming, and according to this article they were only 34 deaths from Covid in the entire state per day.
    In a state of millions of people that is an insignificant number.
    My hospital is doing well, our census appears to be normal, and we are busy doing elective surgeries.
    We have no problem getting patients into the ICU if they need it after surgery.
    I hope Ron DeSantis is the next President of the United States

  16. DeSantis doing the right thing once again. Vaccines are available to any that want it. The high risk people have been protected.
    Well done Governor

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