DeSantis: ‘Florida got it right and the lockdown states got it wrong’

Florida gov. Ron DeSantis spoke about his state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.

“We are stronger as a state and much happier as a people because of this leadership,” DeSantis said. “Florida has lower per capita Covid mortality than the national average and lower than 27 other states. Our unemployment rate is lower than the national average, even though tourism isn’t fully back, and our budget is in great shape.”

“Florida got it right and the lockdown states got it wrong,” DeSantis said to the cheering crowd.

At the end of September, DeSantis moved all of the state into Phase 3 of re-opening, which eliminated COVID-related business closures and capacity limitations.

His order made county-wide mask mandates unenforceable, by eliminating fines associated with them.

In addition, DeSantis issued an order which barred local governments from adopting and enforcing restrictions they saw fit.

Earlier this month, DeSantis slammed the idea of restricting travel to Florida after the Biden administration contemplated domestic travel restrictions to “to prevent the spread of variants that appear to be surging in a number of states.”

“It would be unconstitutional, it would be unwise and it would be unjust,” DeSantis said, vowing that Florida would fight back against any travel restrictions.

More than 1.8 million people have been infected with the coronavirus in Florida and more than 30,000 have died. However, those numbers represent better per capita figures than the United States as a whole.

“Under the leadership of Gov. DeSantis, Florida is a free state where data and science prevail, and residents’ individual liberties are respected and protected. Thanks to the governor’s ongoing commitment during the COVID-19 public health emergency to protect our most vulnerable while safeguarding the right to earn a living and the right to operate a business, the governor has been able to lift Floridians up instead of locking our state down,” DeSantis’s office said in a statement to the Miami Herald.

“While every death resulting from COVID-19 is a tragedy, the data demonstrates that Gov. DeSantis’ leadership prevented the deaths of potentially thousands in our state.”

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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