SOUTH FLORIDA — After Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order suspending local emergency orders and restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic Monday, leaders in South Florida — which has been hid hardest by the virus — responded to the measure, which was effective immediately.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Danielle Levine Cava condemned the order in a statement she released Monday afternoon.
“I’m deeply concerned by this decision. We are still in a public health emergency and our economy has not fully rebounded from crisis. Fewer than half of our residents have been vaccinated, and we face a growing threat from variants,” she said. “I urge our community to continue using common sense to prevent the spread of the virus and most importantly, to get vaccinated – our best and only path forward to truly put the pandemic behind us.”
The mayor also urged DeSantis “to commit resources to helping to educate and persuade Floridians to get vaccinated.”
Broward County Mayor Steve Geller said he is “concerned” by the measure but said the county “will follow the order of the governor whether we agree with it or not,” the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.
Geller said DeSantis’ executive order “demonstrates that he seems to care more about politics than the public safety in the state of Florida.”
The mayor added, “It is my belief that we still need to be careful and have certain limited common-sense reactions in order to ensure that the crisis stays under control, but the governor disagrees.”
Broward County’s legal team is reviewing the executive order to verify that it complies with state requirements, Geller said.
WPBF reported that Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said DeSantis’ order is “an irresponsible move.”
Gelber said, “I think he spiked the ball on the 10-yard line instead of just waiting until we got this totally behind us.”
In Palm Beach County, Commissioner Melissa McKinlay tweeted her official statement as the president of the Florida Association of Counties.
“In the current pandemic, evolving science has contributed to the challenge of protecting lives,” the statement said. “It is during these times federal, state and local leaders should be coming together. Instead, the Governor’s Executive Orders yesterday were an uncoordinated surprise to local partners on the front lines of the pandemic and their wake left much confusion.”