Florida’s Republican governor Ron DeSantis has announced a proposal to permanently ban Covid mandates in the state.
In a press release issued earlier this week, DeSantis said that he has proposed legislation to “make permanent Covid freedoms in Florida”, adding that the “strong pro-freedom, anti-mandate action will permanently protect Floridians from losing their jobs due to Covid vaccine mandates, protects parents’ rights, and institutes additional protections that prevent discrimination based on Covid vaccine status”.
The proposal includes permanently banning mask requirements throughout the state, prohibiting vaccine and mask requirements in schools, prohibiting Covid passports in the state, and prohibiting employers from hiring or firing based on Covid vaccines, all in attempts to protect Floridians from the “biomedical security state”.
The proposal also claims to protect “medical freedom of speech” by promising to protect medical professionals’ freedom of speech, the right to disagree with the “preferred narrative of the medical community,” as well as the religious views of medical professionals.
“When the world lost its mind, Florida was a refuge of sanity, serving strongly as freedom’s lynchpin,” DeSantis said in the announcement of his proposal. “These measures will ensure Florida remains this way and will provide landmark protections for free speech for medical practitioners.”
The recent proposal follows DeSantis’s repeated criticisms of Covid mandates. In 2021, DeSantis signed a series of measures that sought to protect Floridians from pandemic mandates set forth by local governments, which he called “unscientific, unnecessary directives”.
Florida’s surgeon general, Joseph Ladapo, supported DeSantis’s proposal, saying: “As a health sciences researcher and physician, I have personally witnessed accomplished scientists receive threats due to their unorthodox positions.”
“However, many of these positions have proven to be correct, as we’ve all seen over the past few years. All medical professionals should be encouraged to engage in scientific discourse without fearing for their livelihoods or their careers,” he added.
Last year, Ladapo announced that Florida will formally recommend against Covid vaccinations for healthy children.
“We’re kind of scraping at the bottom of the barrel, particularly with healthy kids, in terms of actually being able to quantify with any accuracy and any confidence the even potential of benefit,” he said.
The announcement contradicted guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the Food and Drug Administration.
Last December, DeSantis petitioned the Florida supreme court to have a grand jury investigate whether Floridians were misled by Covid vaccine manufacturers over the shots’ potential side effects.
The court granted DeSantis’s petition, and the grand jury will convene for a year before forming a decision.