TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A coalition of doctors are calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to grant a request by some mayors to implement local coronavirus restrictions, including business capacity limitations and enforcement of mask mandates.
What You Need To Know
- Coronavirus cases on the rise in Florida
- Coalition of doctors calling on DeSantis to allow tougher local restrictions
- Mayors in the state wrote the governor seeking authority to enact local mitigation measures
Under an executive order signed by the governor, municipalities are barred from enacting restrictions that are more stringent than those at the state level.
In September, DeSantis lifted virtually all virus-related restrictions statewide.
The mayors, including Rick Kriseman of St. Petersburg and Dan Gelber of Miami Beach, wrote the governor this month for authority to enact a series of local mitigation measures as new coronavirus cases climb.
This week, doctors representing Physicians for Social Responsibility endorsed the call for more local control, faulting DeSantis for not having ordered a statewide mask mandate.
"This is something that the leadership of the top of our state should have, from day one, said 'We have a problem here. We're preparing for it. We encourage you to wear masks, and if you don't we're going to mandate it'. And they didn't do that," Dr. Howard Kessler said.
As part of his Phase Three reopening plan, DeSantis has expressly barred municipalities from enforcing local mask mandates with fines. On Tuesday, he renewed his executive order blocking them from doing so.
The approach is a reversal from the governor's position in the early days of the pandemic, when cities and counties were largely allowed to take more aggressive actions than the state.
"We've wanted to have a collaborative effort with the locals from the beginning," DeSantis told state Capitol reporters in June. "Different areas have handled this differently based on their facts and circumstances."