Florida mayor blasts DeSantis over lack of COVID support

Coronavirus

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at the opening of a monoclonal antibody site Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021, in Pembroke Pines, Fla. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

ORLANDO Fla. (AP) — The mayor of one of Florida’s largest counties on Tuesday blasted Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, saying he has been missing in action during the latest wave of COVID-19, as some counties brought back mask mandates for government workers and other municipalities opened up new testing sites in response to overwhelming demand.

The mayor of Orange County, Jerry Demings, said local governments had been forced to figure out on their own, without help from the state, how to respond to the omicron variant that has rapidly overtaken the delta variant as the dominant strain of the coronavirus in Florida.

Florida hit a new record for daily cases last weekend, with the state reporting 32,850 new cases on Saturday.

Demings said new restrictions placed by DeSantis and the Florida Legislature on actions that can be taken by local governments and private businesses to combat the virus have made fighting the pandemic more difficult.

A new law signed by DeSantis last month prevents businesses from having vaccine mandates unless they allow workers to opt out, bars schools and governments from having vaccine mandates and allows parents to sue schools with masking requirements.

The governor’s office did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

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