Florida Watch video demands face mask mandate
Gov. Ron DeSantis' approval rating has collapsed throughout the pandemic. Image via AP.

Ron DeSantis Pan American Hospital
Gov. Ron DeSantis has repeatedly declined to issue a mask requirement.

Florida Watch and Progress Florida are joining the call for Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue a face mask requirement in a video posted to Facebook Thursday.

Democrats across the state have urged the Governor to issue an order, but that ask has fallen on deaf ears. The video, made in partnership by the two progressive advocacy groups, also implores Floridians to call the Governor’s Office to ask for an order.

“Gov. DeSantis needs to quit playing politics with this deadly disease and with the health of Floridians,” said Florida Watch Executive Director Josh Weierbach. “We’re calling on the Governor to heed the advice of health experts who universally agree that the widespread use of masks will save thousands of lives.”

The video features a news clip of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, explaining why he wears a mask. It adds that health experts say a mask order could save the lives of 8,000 Floridians by October, a statistic likely pulled from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation model for COVID-19 in Florida.

“DeSantis is heeding this advice about as well as he wears a mask himself,” the video states over another clip of the Governor putting on an N95 mask sideways.

As of Wednesday morning, 3,889 Floridians and 102 non-residents have died with COVID-19 in the state. And 223,783 people have tested positive, with several thousand tests returning positive each day.

Throughout the pandemic, DeSantis has resisted issuing a face mask requirement, citing constitutional liberty and the difficulty in enforcing such a requirement. Instead, he has said local governments can issue requirements if they are willing to enforce the orders.

Most of the state’s population centers have issued local mask orders, including Jacksonville, which will host the Republican National Convention next month.

“As more cities and counties across Florida issue mask requirements to slow the spread of this deadly disease and save our economy, DeSantis has been accused of intentionally manipulating the state’s data and misleading Floridians,” the video says. “Florida needs real leadership in this time of crisis.”

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government 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 r[email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


  • Sonja Fitch

    July 9, 2020 at 11:26 am

    Duffus Desantis is not going to make good decisions for Floridians! Duffus Desantis is just the bestest little white boy goptrump cult FOLLOWER! Keep on Duffus Desantis to do the good and decent acts for all Floridians!

  • Larry Gillis

    July 9, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    These decisions are to be made at the individual level, not by government at ANY level

    That being said, I will note that businesses are free to exclude persons who are NOT wearing masks; just as patrons are free to boycott businesses that don’t “mask up” or that don’t exclude non-wearers.

    Public buildings can — and should — exclude the unmasked, because otherwise the rest of us are disenfranchised. Parents who bring their children into maskless environments (e.g., crowded beaches, crowded churches, etc) should be indicted for felonious child-endangerment.

    One of Libertarianism’s basic tenets is this: The exercise of personal freedom includes at all times the obligation to embrace the consequences of one’s choices.

    Larry Gillis, Libertarian (Cape Coral)

  • Susan

    July 18, 2020 at 2:08 am

    The “Mask” issue is a result of the recent so-called in “Spike” in positive cases in Florida WELL inaccurate test reporting of “COVID 19” (only the positive cases) by various agencies throughout Florida is a SERIOUS issue don’t you think and if the cases had been being reported accurately (Positives & Negatives) there would not be A “Spike” in cases! Therefore No Mask mandate. After 5 months of living through COVID 19 Lockdowns, losing jobs, and the horrible unemployment system and much more devastation why now are the agencies having trouble reporting the real numbers NOT “100% positive” cases. Common sense will tell most people that 100% is not even possible. In this world today we need the truth, facts and science! There is no Science or fact that Mask do anything it is actually the opposite they cause many problems especially wearing them OUTSIDE in 110-degree weather! I explained the reporting of the COVID 19 Positives & Negatives on a social media post the other day like a Bank account wouldn’t we all just like to count the “Positives” (deposits) and just disregard the “Negatives” (atm withdrawals etc) in our bank accounts? Well, we can’t do that because the “Balance” (% of cases) would not be accurate now, would it? Do you see my point on the importance of reporting the COVID cases ACCURATELY?

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