A Florida lawmaker took to CNN on Wednesday to advance his crusade against mask requirements, while lauding the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Most of my state is doing just fine,” said Rep. Anthony Sabatini, a Lake County Republican involved in a series of legal challenges to local mask requirements.
In an extended segment with Brianna Keilar , the lawmaker continued to contend that the risk of the virus simply wasn’t what a fear-mongering media contended.
The legislator, who has used the phrase “mask Nazis” to describe those on the other side of the issue, downplayed coronavirus concerns as the state crested 300,000 cases the day before, with positive testing rates continuing to soar.
“The Governor’s response has been on point. The metrics that matter most … we’re doing well,” he said.
Told that hospitals and ICUs are straining under the weight of cases, Sabatini said an “extremely small number” of people in Florida are going to the hospital.
Sabatini also said the idea of Florida being the pandemic “epicenter” was false.
For his part, the representative does not wear a mask to the grocery store.
“The studies I’ve seen,” he said, “say masks OR social distancing. If you’re maintaining basic social distancing like I do, there’s no reason to have an additional mask on top of that.”
Sabatini does not go to the grocery store much, he added, saying he “prefers to eat out.”
“This is Florida. It’s about 100 degrees outside,” the legislator added.
Elsewhere in the interview, Sabatini invoked the “robust privacy clause” in Florida law as defense from having “government tell you what you can do with your own face.”
Sabatini said seatbelt laws were justified because of “state interest in what happens” behind the wheel, compared to mask mandates that say “you have to wear a mask 12 to 14 hours a day, regardless of where you go.”