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Ron DeSantis didn't guarantee there wouldn't be a mask requirement for the 2020 Republican National Convention in Jacksonville. Image via News4Jax.

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Ron DeSantis doesn’t rule out masks for Jacksonville GOP convention

President Donald Trump pulled the cord on Charlotte because of masks and social distancing.

As Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry faces scrutiny for not issuing a mask mandate, Gov. Ron DeSantis isn’t guaranteeing the Republican National Convention will also go maskless.

The Republican National Committee moved its nominating convention for President Donald Trump from the originally-planned host city Charlotte, North Carolina, in part because the state wouldn’t promise a mask-less convention without social distancing. With the convention now in Jacksonville, Curry has made clear the city won’t require masks in the meantime.

But when asked about requiring masks at the convention, DeSantis didn’t make the same guarantee.

“We always said, look, it’s a work in progress, we’re going to try to get to yes, but it was never anything where — obviously, we’re in a dynamic situation, so they know that,” DeSantis told reporters in Pensacola Sunday.

The Governor has also told Floridians to avoid the indoors, crowded spaces, and close contact with other individuals, which also flies in the face of a packed convention hall.

Like most of the state, Jacksonville and Northeast Florida have seen a rising number of COVID-19 diagnoses in recent days with positivity rates crossing double digits. The city counted 740 new cases in health official’s latest report Sunday morning, a fourth consecutive day of increasing new cases.

Although cases are on the rise, DeSantis noted it could be a different picture in August with the public’s focus returning to combating the virus’ spread.

“But I think we’ll be fine by that time,” he said. “It’s a couple of months away, and we look forward to seeing that.”

Over the course of the state’s monthlong stay-at-home order that began early April, cases dropped from more than 1,300 in one day to 789 on the final day of the original lockdown order. Positivity rates also trended down during that period and weeks into May.

Nearly 200 physicians wrote a letter to Curry and the city council demanding a mask requirement and social distancing during the convention.

And the Sunshine State’s former Governor (and current Sen.) Rick Scott demanded the convention take measures to protect public health.

“You’re going to have to,” Scott said last week. “We have to wear masks.”

Written By

Renzo Downey covers the Florida Legislature for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at renzo@floridapolitics.com and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Sonja Fitch

    June 29, 2020 at 6:34 am

    Looting Lenny is criminally negligent in serving and protecting citizens in Jacksonville! This is just another attempt for looting Lenny to have a “job” ! Failed with the JEA bs. Failed to get to the schools money. Looting Lenny you are a damn sociopath and failure! Cancel the RNC now!

  2. Sonja Fitch

    June 29, 2020 at 6:58 am

    Note to duffus Desantis and looting Lenny. Social distance and wear a damn mask! Cancel the RNC! You are both criminally negligent in serving and protecting our communities! Looting Lenny this is another loser idea! No large gatherings in Florida til numbers drop below 300! Sometimes in 2021!

  3. Sonja Fitch

    June 29, 2020 at 7:03 am

    Duffus Desantis and looting Lenny social distance and wear masks. The goptrump cult leader trump is gonna leave you two out to die in the fiasco mess y’all are making in Florida!

  4. SANDRA OLIVA

    June 29, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    HECK NO! MASKS ARE FORBIDDEN TO ALL ATTENDEES OF TRUMP’S RAMBLING LIES! ANY REPUBLICAN CAUGHT WITH A MASK ON WILL BE ARRESTED, FINED $1,000 000 000 AND GIVEN AN INHALER OF COVID19 TO “BREATHE DEEPLY” AS LONG AS YOU ARE ALIVE!
    JOIN THE OTHER FUNERALS AFTER THE SHOW.SS

  5. PeterH

    June 29, 2020 at 12:36 pm

    Florida has the trifecta combination for a successful pandemic GOP Convention:

    1. A complaint governor.
    2. Double purposed clown face masks.
    3. An abundance of male and female ‘escorts!’

    • PeterH

      June 29, 2020 at 12:40 pm

      Compliant governor

  6. charles hoffman

    June 29, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    Ron Defukkin Santis is the dumbest white guy in the South

  7. Eigram

    June 29, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    Cancel the convention!!

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