TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Surgeon General will step away from his position when his contract expires near the end of September, the press secretary for Gov. Ron DeSantis confirmed Thursday night.

What You Need To Know

  • Florida's surgeon general to leave job next month

  • Dr. Scott Rivkees' contract is expiring, the governor's press secretary says

  • Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Rivkees to the position in June 2019

  • An announcement on his replacement will be forthcoming, the press secretary says

“The contract was extended to the full extent of our abilities in law,” the statement said. “We thank Dr. Rivkees for his meaningful work during the most challenging pandemic of our lifetime. We appreciate his service to the people of Florida and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Rivkees was named the state’s chief medical officer in 2019 but has not had a public presence throughout most of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In May 2021, Rivkees did say fully vaccinated Floridians shouldn't wear masks or avoid large crowds anymore.

“Continuing COVID-19 restrictions on individuals, with no end in sight, including long-term use of face coverings and withdrawal from social and recreational gatherings, pose a risk of adverse and unintended consequences,” Rivkees wrote.

He did not make a public announcement about his upcoming departure, but a Department of Health spokesperson released a statement.

“It has been an honor to serve the people of Florida the past two years,” Rivkees said in the statement. “The Florida Department of Health is an agency with 12,000 dedicated and passionate public health experts that have responded to this pandemic for more than 500 days – alongside staff from the Division of Emergency Management, Agency for Health Care Administration and all of our other sister agencies. We responded to COVID-19 with an all-hands-on-deck approach. …

“I also would like to reiterate my gratitude and appreciation to the health care and public health professionals that have remained on the front lines of this response. Your tireless work and dedication has saved countless lives.”

An announcement on Rivkees’ replacement will be forthcoming, according to Christina Pushaw, the governor’s press secretary.