Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is pleading with Floridians to mask up.
On Thursday, she proclaimed Oct. 16 to 23 as “Mask Up Florida Week” in the Sunshine State. The weeklong proclamation aims to remind Floridians that masks can save lives amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m proud to proclaim ‘Mask Up Florida Week’ to raise awareness on the effectiveness of mask-wearing and to encourage everyone to do their part to help beat COVID-19,” Fried said in a statement. “With so many lives and livelihoods on the line, we have to take our responsibility seriously and mask up to protect our loved ones, businesses, essential workers — and make sure we’re doing all we can to keep Florida safe.”
Mask Up Florida Week is part of the Commissioner’s Be SMART Florida awareness campaign. The campaign, which digitally launched in August, encourages Floridians to do their part to contain the virus. The SMART acronym asks Floridians to social distance, mask up, avoid crowds, remember to wash hands, and throw away disposable PPE items.
Notably, Fried’s campaign launched days after Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled his “One Goal, One Florida“ campaign – a move that underscored the not-so-secret tensions between the Republican Governor and Fried, the state’s highest-ranking elected Democrat.
In September, she also launched a video series and flyers to guide farmworkers, who are more susceptible than others to contract the virus. The series complements her plan to provide free testing to employers, farmworkers, and their families in several of Florida’s top agriculture counties.
“COVID-19 continues to be a global health crisis unlike any we’ve ever faced, devastating our communities, public health, and our economy,” Fried added. “It’s crucial that we stand united in our response against this virus and take common-sense steps to protect each other, like wearing masks when in public.”
At least 758,538 people in the State of Florida have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Wednesday, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.