Earlier this week, Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference explaining why he would not make a state-wide mandate to require masks for all Florida residents. A day later and the internet is in a frenzy over the decision, with people taking to Twitter to express their opinions, share information, and even create DeSantis memes. Currently, a hashtag called #DeSantisFailedFlorida is trending over people’s displeasure with his decisions surrounding COVID-19.
While several Florida cities and individual counties have set mask mandates of their own, the governor explained in the press conference that he felt ordering people to do something would make them less likely to do so.
DeSantis did promote good hygiene and social distancing during the conference, however, many members of the public have expressed displeasure with The Governor's choices.
While some Twitter users relied on comedy and memes to express their opinions, others replied with information provided from the Florida COVID-19 Dashboard and other health agencies like the Florida Surgeon General.
On June 20, the State Surgeon General issued a public health advisory asking all citizens to wear masks in public and continue to follow social distancing measures, but one Twitter user believes it's come a little too late.
Dear florida Could have used this 2 MONTHS ago. Sad you waited until now to try and get people to listen to you -… https://t.co/h4qUEoxKK6— Sharon The Pirate Queen ☮💜 🏴☠️ (@Sharon The Pirate Queen ☮💜 🏴☠️) 1593026986.0
Some counties with mask mandates have instituted hefty fines for violators who refuse to wear face coverings, while cities such as Lakeland have decided to forego masks at this time.
Other Twitter users brought up the reopening of major entertainment centers like Disney World, further expressing concerns that Florida is or would soon be the new epicenter of the virus.
A petition started by furloughed Disney employees to delay the opening has even cropped up earlier this week. It now has over 8,000 signatures as of publication.
Florida has 20,720 new #Covid19 cases reported over the past 5 days. @GovRonDeSantis this is NOT trending in the ri… https://t.co/J3UtNpoxlk— Jason Lazott (@Jason Lazott) 1593013601.0
While some counties have mandated the use of masks, the decision is still largely up to individuals and businesses across Florida.
Local health officials encourage the continued use of masks and face coverings as well as following social distancing guidelines by encouraging residents and visitors to avoid the three Cs — closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings.
Florida's COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard currently measure 109,014 positive cases in the state. Spikes in numbers have been reported over the last week, with nearly 5.5 thousand new cases recorded on June 23.
And the cases in Florida are still currently on the rise.
As of June 25, The Sunshine State officially has more cases of COVID-19 than the entire country of Canada.