‘Let these folks breathe’: Gov. DeSantis urges businesses to unmask employees
Image via AP

COVID-19 rules for thee, but not for me.

Gov. Ron DeSantis blasted businesses Tuesday that require staff to wear masks while patrons roam mask-free, arguing the suggested rule disparity is symbolic of a “two-tiered society” wedged against the “servant class.”

“Let these folks breathe,” DeSantis said at a press conference in Oldsmar. “Let them make their own decisions on this because I think it’s terribly uncomfortable that they’re in this for so many hours a day and I don’t think it’s proven to make a difference.”

The argument of a “servant class” is a spin on one of DeSantis’ primary arguments against public health mandates. They, he often says, divide Americans. In September, the Republican Governor mounted a similar argument against COVID-19 vaccine passports and vowed to prevent a “biomedical security state” in Florida.

“I think it’s like a two-tiered society,” DeSantis said. “They’re trying to have a servant class that has to always do all this. But yet the other class, they can lecture you about wearing masks, but then they don’t wear masks themselves. That’s wrong.”

Indeed, COVID-19 rules for thee but not for me are well documented throughout the pandemic.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom dined indoors at an upscale Napa Valley restaurant alongside lobbyists despite banning indoor dinners at restaurants.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot got a haircut amid the state’s stay-at-home order. The order closed many businesses including hair salons, WGN reports.

“I’m the public face of this city,” she justified. “I’m on national media and I’m out in the public eye. I’m a person who takes their personal hygiene very seriously.”

Austin Mayor Steve Adler urged residents to “stay home” and “not relax” as he and others vacationed in Mexico. In a Facebook video, the Mayor threatened to shut down businesses “if we are not careful.”

With a crowd applauding the Republican Governor, DeSantis mocked venues with large maskless crowds that meanwhile order employees to wear masks. Employee mask mandates in such venues, he asserted, exist solely to satisfy a vocal minority.

He described the effort as more perforative than effective.

“They know that if they have the servers without it, they may get that one customer who’s so upset and will complain, and they don’t want to deal with that,” DeSantis said. “But I think it’s time we stopped letting that one person veto what’s right.”

DeSantis, who is widely considered a 2024 GOP presidential contender, is among the most outspoken critics of COVID-19 public health measures. The issue of COVID-19 mitigation, he asserts, is best decided by individuals.

He vowed Tuesday to buck mandates or school lockdown suggestions amid fears of the new omicron variant, calling such efforts “Fauciism.”

“I think it’s wrong to look down on somebody or to act like they should have to abide by different rules than me or you or anybody else,” DeSantis said.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


  • Alex

    December 7, 2021 at 2:26 pm

    “Let these folks breathe,” DeSantis said at a press conference in Oldsmar. “Let them make their own decisions on this because I think it’s terribly uncomfortable that they’re in this for so many hours a day and I don’t think it’s proven to make a difference.”

    Oh the irony and insensitivity of that moronic statement.

    The problem with covid is the green bloody goop filling your lungs suffocates you to death, and the best way to keep it out of your lungs is by wearing a mask

    Good job idiot.

    • Marc

      December 7, 2021 at 4:41 pm

      BWAHAHAHA! Masks have been proven not to work against covid. People have been wearing masks for 2 years and still get covid. So be free. YOU continue to wear your mask and follow along little sheep!

        • dank

          December 9, 2021 at 9:16 am

          baaaaaaaaaah little sheepy

          • Alex

            December 9, 2021 at 12:14 pm

            Nothing but noise huh?


      • AnnainFL

        December 7, 2021 at 10:38 pm

        People have been getting it for two years because they are not wearing the masks inside households or family gatherings where people are getting it from their family and friends and people refusing to get vaccinated.

      • DealingwithIdiots

        December 13, 2021 at 10:04 am

        Marc. Ya gotta get off Fox News Bro. That pea sized brain is working overtime.

    • AnnainFL

      December 7, 2021 at 10:45 pm

      Exactly. And it’s the misinformation from this idiot among many others who have kept this pandemic going for so long. He wouldn’t get as much attention if it’s over. He wants attention and press time.

    • JMV

      December 8, 2021 at 2:27 pm

      @ Alex you really think a mask is going to keep you safe 🤦🏻‍♀️

      • Alex

        December 8, 2021 at 9:08 pm

        Do you really think all these people are lying to you?

        1.They have zero reason to lie about it.

        2. It would take a massive worldwide conspiracy to do it.

        3. You aren’t special

  • Kathy

    December 7, 2021 at 4:10 pm

    I’m pretty sure one of those mail in DNA tests would prove that Desantis and Trump are related. Selfish, self centered, self important and ignorant. Trump, above all others health, puts everyone at risk knowingly attending public functions while testing positive for Covid. Desantis refuses to believe any expert’s opinion (even ignoring the death toll) except the wack job he hired. He continues to have close contact with total strangers, constantly traveling chest thumping and patting himself on the back. I wonder if he realizes that his wife’s immune system is undoubtedly compromised by her Cancer. Honestly, he just gets worse every day.
    “Pardon my sanity in a World insane”
    Emily Dickinson 1830-1886
    “Even when vaccinated, please, just wear a mask”
    Dr. Adeline Fagan 1993-2020

    • AnnainFL

      December 7, 2021 at 10:40 pm

      Exactly. Why is wearing a mask and getting vaccinated such a big deal? I will never get it.

  • Impeach Biden

    December 7, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    The only place I have to wear a mask is when I go to the doctor office or the airport. It’s optional every place else. You want to wear it fine. I would rather not and don’t except at the two places listed above. I have seen Kathy and Alex out and about. They are the ones with the top down on their car wearing a mask. That cracks me up,

  • Impeach Biden

    December 7, 2021 at 6:58 pm

    But you let Alex and Kathy take anti SeSantis positions. Amazing and you post them.

  • Impeach Biden

    December 7, 2021 at 7:00 pm

    So who is the anti-DeSantis monitor?

  • rass

    December 8, 2021 at 9:28 am

    Ronnie is a strong contender for a Darwin award! Breath free and die could be on Florida car license plates.

  • Jim

    December 8, 2021 at 11:16 am

    “I think it’s terribly uncomfortable that they’re in this for so many hours a day …”

    Yep, that’s why I’ve stopped wearing masks when I do surgery. My post-op infection rate may have gone through the roof, but what is important is that I am not minorly incovenienced.

    “… and I don’t think it’s proven to make a difference.”

    Republican governors are doing their best not to think, and to cover up inconvenient data that gets in the way of not thinking:


    “But I think it’s time we stopped letting that one person veto what’s right.”

    I agree. Looking forward to the 2022 gubernatorial election. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve given up caring about people not wearing masks or getting vaccinated. I’m fully vaccinated, and stay away from them. Electoral margins have been narrow enough that having 1.5% less of them around in 2022 may well throw the election. Marc, you just keep being free, and if you get sick, try some bleach and ivermectin.

  • Lotus

    December 8, 2021 at 2:31 pm

    Everyone against DeSantis can move! This is not going away, if your in a high risk get the shot! Everyone will get this eventually it’s not going away. We don’t need to stop life. If you need this to be your way of life move to CA they have everything you want.

    • AnnainFL

      December 13, 2021 at 10:29 am

      I wish I could move back to CA. At least they have intelligent people there…

  • Tired of the political games

    December 20, 2021 at 5:08 pm

    Since I work at Publix, we have to wear a mask all the time.
    I assume Desantis is not going after Publix for forcing us to wear masks because they donated $100,000 to his campaign so they could get the Vaccination money.

Comments are closed.


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