STATEWIDE — Miami-Dade County's mayor says masks will again be required at indoor county facilities, following new federal guidelines recommending that even people vaccinated against COVID-19 should wear masks indoors. That reversal has reignited a debate among the Florida's political leaders.
Meanwhile, Florida State Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R-District 37) of Howey-in-the-Hills on Wednesday called on Gov. Ron DeSantis to immediately convene a Special Legislative Session to ban local government and school district mask and vaccine mandates.
Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the decision in Miami-Dade is a response to the surge in new cases and hospitalizations. The mayor didn’t announce any mandates for businesses or restaurants but said she was strongly recommending that everyone wear masks in large crowds or close spaces.
A state law signed in May gives Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis the power to invalidate local emergency measures put in place during the pandemic, including mask mandates and limitations on business operations.
“We have all come too far. We have all sacrificed too much in this past almost year and a half. We cannot turn back now,” Levine Cava said. “It is essential that we do everything we can to keep building on the progress that we have made.”
Sabatini, who has said repeatedly said COVID-19 has a low-mortality rate and filed several lawsuits to try to block mask mandates, called Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph a “far-left zealot” for ordering his staff members to get vaccinated by Aug. 31 or be fired from their jobs.
"These heavy-handed approaches are un-American and should never be allowed to occur in Florida," Sabatini said in a statement. "We must intervene and stop them. Florida’s response to COVID-19 should always be based on the principles of individual responsibility and freedom: we should trust individual citizens and communities to make their own health choices—not incompetent government entities. We should not sit idly by as the rights of citizens are violated.”
Leaders in the Orange County tax collector’s office said their six agencies see more than 20,000 people weekly, and they want to make sure they’re protecting everyone who comes through their doors from getting sick.