ORLANDO, Fla. — Though face masks are not a political issue — they're recommended by the CDC to potentially keep the wearer from spreading the coronavirus to others — mandates to wear them have been polarizing.
What You Need To Know
- Politicians weigh in on why there are or are not mask ordinances
- Jacksonville, where Trump speech is scheduled to take place, mandated masks
"You're seeing a lot of our local governments step up and mandate mask-wearing," Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried said. "And for a while even, the mayor from Jacksonville said it wouldn't happen. He put that into place today (Monday). Who knows if it's going to actually stay in place for the RNC (Republican National Convention). He could actually override it beforehand.
"That's why I called the statewide ordinance, so that way a local government can't override it as the RNC comes to Jacksonville," Fried said.
President Donald Trump is set to deliver his presidential nomination speech there.
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), recently discussed the Republican National Convention's plan to head to the Sunshine State, advocating for safety. But Scott, the Florida former governor, stopped short of calling on mandates for masks.
“We’ve got to continue talking about the importance of wearing masks, continue to talk about the importance of social distancing, continue to talk about the importance of quarantining if you’ve been around someone who’s tested positive," he said. "I think the government has got to inform. I think government has got to not mandate things."
Other prominent Republicans, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are fully on board with mask wearing.
"We must have no stigma, none, about wearing masks when we leave our homes and come near other people. Wearing simple face coverings is not about protecting ourselves, it is about protecting everyone we encounter," McConnell said in Senate-floor remarks Monday.
Just Monday, Seminole County in Central Florida became the latest county to mandate mask-wearing in public to help stem the spread of COVID-19.
Earlier this month, a coalition of doctors stood outside the Florida governor’s Tallahassee mansion, calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue a statewide mask mandate, instead of relying upon cities and counties to pass their own versions--or go without.
Others, like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, have called on even more powerful people to lead the charge.
"Let the president have the same sense and do that as an executive order, and then let the president lead by example, and let the president put a mask on it," he said, continuing, "Because we know it works. We've proven that it works in the state of New York, and the president can still be New York tough and New York smart and united and disciplined and loving."
Sign up now for one of our newsletters that will show up in your inbox every weekday at 1 p.m. The newsletters highlight the most important stories of the day that you need to know for your area.