With a new COVID-19 variant on the rise, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is doubling down on the department’s public awareness campaign against COVID-19.
Dubbed “Be Smart Florida,” the initiative aims to remind Floridians of “common-sense” ways to stop the virus’ spread. Fried, a Democratic gubernatorial contender, first launched the campaign in August 2020.
Smart is an acronym:
S: Social distance when indoors.
M: Mask up when unable to social distance.
A: Always wash your hands.
R: Remember to throw away disposable protective equipment.
T: Take advantage of free COVID testing and safe and effective vaccines.
In a press release, Fried pointed to a World Health Organization study that says masks reduce the spread of COVID-19 by 85%. The same report, meanwhile, says social distancing efforts reduce spread by 82%.
Fried also stressed the importance of vaccines and booster shots. More than 14.6 million people have been vaccinated in Florida since the pandemic’s onset, according to the latest Florida Department of Health data.
The relaunch comes as Floridians travel ahead of the holiday season.
“We can keep our economy open and thriving and our communities safe if we work together — so let’s Be SMART & Get Vaxxed, Florida!,” she said in a press release.
Upon launching the program in August, Fried enlisted high-profile figures such as Congress members and professional athletes — including Miami Heat and Miami Dolphins stars — to promote public health measures.
The initial August announcement came days after Gov. Ron DeSantis reintroduced his COVID-19 state guidelines and recovery plans — such as reopening schools — under the banner of “One Goal, One Florida.”
Fried is among the most outspoken critics of DeSantis and his handling of the pandemic. At the time, she reiterated her calls for a statewide mask mandate and urged DeSantis to slow the state’s reopening process.
More information about the campaign is available online.