Gov. DeSantis’ in-person appearances few and far between as COVID-19 cases increase in Florida

Florida

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Gov. Ron DeSantis was a fixture on the evening news at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. But these days, the governor has chosen a more scripted approach, using social media to convey his messages to the public.

“It is a little concerning we haven’t heard much from him,” Tampa resident Stephen Graves told 8 On Your Side Wednesday.

Graves said he liked the governor’s previous form of in-person communication.

“I think he needs to address the state with in regards to what we’re having with the COVID-19 effect,” Graves said.

A group of Florida mayors, including St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, recently met to lobby the governor to rescind enforcing restrictions they saw fit or, in the very least, adopt a statewide mask mandate.

8 On Your Side turned to political analyst and former University of South Florida professor Dr. Susan MacManus to discuss the governor’s communication strategy.

“When you drastically change the way you give messages, that obviously causes some people to scratch their heads and ask why, and I think that’s what’s happening here,” she explained.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, a Democrat, is not overly concerned about the governor’s “missing in action” status. She said she met this week with the president of Tampa General Hospital to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine shipment that’s still on track for December.

The well-being of the city’s residents is her focus, she explained, no matter how or from where the governor communicates.

“It sounds as if it’s unusual because he was holding regular press conferences but I don’t know,” Castor said. “I’m not in direct contact with the governor, so I don’t know why he’s chosen this mode of communication but communication, as long as you do it effectively, is fine with me.”

8 On Your Side emailed the governor’s office for comment, but has not heard back.

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