Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis removed any of the state’s remaining COVID-19 restrictions through an executive order on May 3rd, saying it’s “the evidence-based thing to do” due to the widespread availability of vaccines throughout the state.
Tourists and visitors to Florida are expected to increase following this news, as more fully vaccinated people are seeking more freedom-based experiences and activities. Another draw, this time for un-vaccinated tourists, is set to increase as the governor has also made it illegal for businesses to discriminate based on not being vaccinated.
“At this point, the people that haven’t been vaccinated is certainly not because a lack of supply or a lack of availability,” DeSantis said Monday when finalizing the order. “the fact is we’re no longer in a state of emergency,”
The governor stated he doesn’t want harsh rules implemented on residents at this point, because the vaccination rate, scientifically, should speak for itself. Especially since 80% of Florida’s seniors have already been inoculated. “I think folks that are saying that they need to be policing people at this point — if you’re saying that, you really are saying you don’t believe in the vaccines, you don’t believe in the data, you don’t believe in the science.”
The bill to remove all local covid orders, including mask mandates, isn’t set to come into effect July 1st, but yesterday he also signed a separate executive order that will bridge the gap until that date.
Many restrictions were already removed back in September 2020, but individual business and institutions still have the freedom to make their own rules, including if they wanted patrons to wear a mask or not.
Florida Opens Vaccines For All 16+, Vaccine Tourism Expected
On April 30 Florida opened vaccine availability for everyone over the age of 16, while also removing the requirement to prove one’s residency in the state. Since January 2021, Florida has been requiring those getting the shot to show proof they were in fact a resident after initial supply concerns.
Now that over 42% of all Floridians have already received at least the first shot, the state relaxed the residency rule.
“People are going to be able to make decisions, and they have the wherewithal to be able to protect themselves with vaccine if they want.” said DeSantis.
The 3 major vaccine brands are available in Florida, including Moderna, Pfizer, and the one-shot Johnson & Johnson. With availability now opened up to non-residents, Florida can expect to see an influx of both domestic and international vaccine tourism, even if it’s not technically permitted. Foreigners have been receiving vaccines across the U.S. for months already, and the story is unlikely to change in Florida.
Will I have to wear a mask if I’m visiting Florida?
Masks are no longer mandatory in both indoor and outdoor public spaces, but businesses do still have the freedom to request that you wear one if they so choose.
Data suggests that between 10% to 30% of business owners in Florida will not be voluntarily extending mask requirements, so some businesses, venues, and services this summer will not require the wearing of masks.
Walt Disney World made a public statement yesterday after the Governor’s executive order, suggesting they will be evaluating the data, but for now masks are still required.
“We are aware of the state of Florida’s plans to modify COVID-19 guidelines. We will evaluate this latest guidance and maintain our current health and safety measures at this time, including face-covering requirements. We will continue to make thoughtful adjustments to our policy. As COVID-19 vaccines become available, we encourage people to get vaccinated.” Disney posted on their website.
Florida’s surgeon general Scott Rivkees thinks fully vaccinated Floridians can stop wearing masks. He filed a 3-page advisory, citing the widespread availability of vaccines should allow fully vaccinated people to no longer wear face coverings or avoid gatherings except in limited circumstances.
DeSantis Blocks Vaccine Passports
In the executive order, DeSantis also blocked the possibility of businesses and other entities discriminating against unvaccinated people by removing any ‘vaccine passport’ type checks.
“You have a right to participate in society – go to a restaurant, movie, a ballgame, all these things – without having to divulge this type of information. And oh, by the way, you give that to big companies, they are going to absolutely try to monetize that. So, we didn’t want to go down that road,” DeSantis said.
Visitors or residents will not have to show proof of vaccination or divulge personal health information to do any type of activity.
A recent poll suggests at least 20% of residents are unwilling to get the vaccine.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com