Florida’s Tourism Capitol, Orange County, about to go entirely Mask-Free

By Eric Daugherty, Florida's Voice

January 7, 2022 Updated 8:35 PM ET

Republican Governor Ron DeSantis continues to lead Florida out of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state’s tourism capitol, Orange County, nears the final phase to lift mask mandates. 

On Monday, DeSantis referred to Florida as “America’s West Berlin,” referencing the freedom afforded to Floridians at this stage of the pandemic in comparison to the rest of the country.

DeSantis’s coercion-free policies date back to when he lifted mask restrictions on businesses in September 2020. He argued for schools reopening in-person; meanwhile, Democrat-run states including New York, California, and Wisconsin were still, and remain locked down to a certain extent. They continue to uphold mandates and tight restrictions, whereas the Florida governor exercised executive authority to put a stop to local covid restrictions, such as mask mandates, signing a law that goes into effect July 1st.

A few weeks ago, Mayor Jerry Demings of Orange County revisited the three-phase approach for lifting restrictions on masking and social distancing. As of late-May 2020, the county has remained in the second phase. The county is now nearing phase three where all restrictions, including indoor mask mandates, will be lifted for Orange County. For phase three to be achieved, 70% of the 16-and-over population must have at least one vaccine dose or the county must achieve a sub-5% 14-day COVID positivity rate. Officials expect this milestone to be reached in the next 1-2 weeks.

Florida theme parks like Disney World and Universal Orlando have already removed outdoor mask requirements and temperature checks for all guests, and social distancing guidelines were reduced to 3 feet. In the coming weeks, these tourist destinations will become entirely mask free.

This is all occurring and progressing in Florida, despite the hesitancy of liberalism infiltrated states, like New York and California, to similar restrictions. Throughout the pandemic, Florida was portrayed by the media as reckless, dangerous, and science-denying. Some officials, like many in Lee County, Florida, refused to institute mask mandates, arguing they are neither necessary nor respect freedom of its citizens. Although fake, left-wing “scientists” and popular figures argued that masking is “backed up by science,” areas across Florida are lifting the few restrictions they had and emerging victorious over this virus.

Florida is seeing promising statistics on all levels, with current COVID cases at a low we haven’t seen since the early months of the pandemic. Governor DeSantis is withdrawing the Sunshine State from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program, lifting restrictions, and urging Floridians to live normally.

DeSantis has rebounded from a COVID (mainstream) media slump, where he was targeted and berated as America’s #1 enemy through most of 2020 in the news media. He is now an example for other states to replicate. Andrew Cuomo and Gavin Newsom, governors of New York and California, respectively, were portrayed by the media as caring about the safety of their states and erring on the side of safety, garnering the favor of outlets like CNN and the New York Times. Florida remained better positioned than both of those states in COVID deaths – despite the fact that Florida has the second largest percent elderly population in the country, behind Maine. 

The comeback tale of Ron DeSantis’s COVID journey is coming to an end – he, along with the modern G.O.P., is emerging as proof that erring on the side of liberty and freedom while utilizing reasonable medical policies is not only the American way to operate government, but the right way. 

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Florida’s Voice is a patriotic news network that you can trust to deliver the truth with no hidden agenda. Founder and Editor in Chief Brendon Leslie left his job in mainstream news to practice journalism as it should be, unbiased and unbossed.

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