The emergency order, which has been in effect for over a year, was set to expire at midnight, but DeSantis extended it again, citing the continued impact of the Chinese coronavirus beyond a public health standpoint alone.
Per the order, the extension is “necessary to ensure Florida schools remain open for the remainder of the school year and to protect Floridians from being required to produce a so-called vaccine passport as a condition of participating in everyday life.”
The order also cites the governor’s commitment to providing “all available resources to assist Floridians and local communities with their efforts” to recover economically from the impact of the pandemic.
It reads in part:
As Florida continues to realize a manageable trend in COVID-19 cases, over 8.5 million vaccinated individuals, a 4.7% unemployment rate well under the national average, and state revenues improving significantly from worst-case projections during the pandemic, gaining $4.1 billion additional projected revenue over three fiscal years from the August 2020 estimate, the state should prepare to resume non-emergency operations.
DeSantis has continued to forge a path of freedom in the Sunshine State despite a steady stream of critiques from members of the establishment media, vowing to continue to remain open.
“We have been open, we will remain open and we are not turning back,” DeSantis told reporters in February, emphasizing the importance of children having the option to attend school in person.
“These kids have been out of school in parts of this country for almost a year and if you follow that CDC guidance, they will not go back in this school year and they may not even go back in the fall,” DeSantis said at the time.
“That is a disgrace, that is not science,” DeSantis continued. “That is putting politics ahead of what’s right for kids. That is putting politics and special interests ahead of what the evidence and observed experience says.”
In early April, the Republican governor and rising GOP star signed an executive order banning the use of vaccine passports in the state.
“Requiring so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports for taking part in everyday life — such as attending a sporting event, patronizing a restaurant, or going to a movie theater— would create two cases of citizens based on vaccination,” his executive order reads.
The order is therefore “necessary to protect the fundamental rights and privacies of Floridians and the free flow of commerce within the state,” it adds.
DeSantis added that the legislature is working to make the protections permanent.