Though an order from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis effectively stripped Orange County's ability to enforce a mask mandate, mayor Jerry Demings is urging residents to keep masking up.
During a news conference about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on May 6, Demings asked that locals continue to seek the COVID-19 vaccine and wear a mask in situations where they would be close to other people.
“We have a responsibility to protect ourselves and protect others by following the CDC guidelines," Demings said. "Again, I urge our residents and businesses to not give up on getting the vaccine nor give up on wearing facial coverings. If we give up now, the consequences may be catastrophic.”
On May 5, the state of Florida had 4.394 newly reported cases and 79 newly reported deaths from COVID-19. In spite of this, DeSantis has been pushing hard to force Floridian cities and businesses to reopen, reinstating work search requirements on unemployment benefits while directly attacking local government's ability to make decisions in emergencies. Demings called DeSantis' recent executive order superseding COVID-19 emergency orders throughout the state an attempt to "usurp the authority of Democrat-led urban counties and cities."
Demings has moved on the issue of masking and social distancing when he felt it was warranted. He rolled out a plan recently showing how the Orlando area would gradually open up as its vaccination rates rose. DeSantis' order ripped that plan out at the root, but Demings is still pushing for residents to follow the county's advice.
“I have lived in this community all of my entire life and have been in public service for 40 of those years. My job and that of other health care experts is to give you the best advice possible and we will continue to do that. I know that by working together, we can make a difference and end this unprecedented health crisis,” Demings said.
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