TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — As concerns grow over the delta variant of the coronavirus and some municipalities across the country reinstate mask requirements, a recent Florida law prevents local governments in the Sunshine State from imposing their own COVID restrictions.
The bill was signed by the governor in May in a push to kickstart Florida’s post-pandemic economic recovery. It was followed an executive order that performed a near-same function, while also imposing restrictions on the length of emergency orders and providing the governor the right to invalidate an order that “restricts individual rights or liberties.”
SB 2006 also essentially banned vaccine passports but let businesses and government entities screen for potential COVID risks.
About a month after that law and executive order were signed by DeSantis, the Florida Dept. of Health stopped reporting COVID-19 case information daily, moving instead to weekly reports. Information on the spread of the delta variant of COVID-19 also remains limited aside from what’s available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Breakthrough cases, or COVID infections in vaccinated individuals, are another concern with the variant.
The ongoing risks of the COVID-19 pandemic are made more serious by misinformation across various platforms, according to federal health officials. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called for companies and individuals across the country to fight back against the “urgent threat” of misinformation about COVID-19.
“(Misinformation) has led people to resist wearing masks in high-risk settings, it’s led them to turn down proven treatments and to choose not to get vaccinated,” Murthy told reporters at a White House press briefing Thursday. “Misinformation poses an imminent and insidious threat to our nation’s health.”