Calls from President Joe Biden’s administration for Florida to lockdown again are “not even feasible” and “are a pipe dream.”
These are not the words of Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, a staunch advocate for the importance of keeping Florida open for business. These are the words of one of Florida’s leading Democrats, House Minority Co-Chair Evan Jenne.
Jenne spoke with The Capitolist during an exclusive interview for a Legislator Profile (see the rest of the interview here), on a wide range of topics. Biden’s call for more lockdowns was discussed.
“I don’t think any Floridians would support that,” said Jenne, “We need to find some sort of middle ground, but I don’t know if that’s even feasible at this point because Florida has been so wide open. I think that there does need to be some restrictions but shutting down businesses is just not going to fly in the state. It’s a pipe dream that’s never going to come to fruition.”
He continued that more can be done in Florida to combat the virus such as giving more leeway to local governments to mandate masks.
Jenne said, “I understand why the governor does not want to do a statewide mask mandate, but right now locals’ hands are really tied and we’re having some of the worst days when it comes to number of deaths.
“I don’t think that a complete lockdown will ever be on the table for Governor DeSantis. I just don’t see that ever being a possibility. But if he were to ease some of the actions he took than kind of hamstring local governments, I think that would be a good first step,” he said.
“For people to have their businesses closed, it’s a very tricky situation. I think that’s more pie in the sky, if I’m being completely honest. It just wouldn’t work here,” Jenne said.
He pointed to California, “Even with their more Draconian lockdowns, the virus still finds a way to spread. So, we need to do whatever we can to mitigate that spread but I just don’t see people in the State of Florida buying into and adhering to a complete lockdown.”
The call for Florida bars, indoor dining, gyms and any other indoor spaces where masks are not worn 100 percent of the time originated with a January 17 White House Coronavirus Task Force Report. According to those health officials, Florida is in the red zone as far as hospitalizations, prompting the call from the Biden administration for various Florida businesses to be shut down.
The governor has pledged on many occasions that he will not shut down the state again, following one in March 2020 that devastated many businesses and livelihoods. He believes every job is essential and that despite a pandemic ravaged economy, Florida is doing better than most states.
During DeSantis’ budget proposal presentation yesterday, DeSantis reiterated his stand against locking down the economy in the state. “Florida led by focusing our vaccination efforts on our 65 and older population, we rejected recommendations that were not evidence-based, we put seniors first,” he said. “Every Floridian has a right to work, all businesses have a right to operate and Florida is better for it.”