Nikki Fried says she would not support statewide mask mandate as Florida governor

"Every county needs to make their own decisions," she said.

click to enlarge Nikki Fried says she would not support statewide mask mandate as Florida governor
Screengrab via CNN

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said she would not support a statewide mask mandate in Florida if she were governor.

Fried, who is challenging Florida governor Ron DeSantis in 2022, made the sort of case that Republicans used to make before they settled on draconian punishment of the poor and vulnerable from on high. In short, she felt that mask mandates should be left up to local governments, who best know how to respond to their ongoing health crises.

"Every county needs to make their own decisions," she said. "No statewide mask mandate but I certainly would like every school board to have the power to make decisions for their own communities."

Fried noted that DeSantis has stripped local authorities of all abilities to make decisions for the health of their citizens. Recent executive orders from the governor have removed counties' authority to declare mandates around masking and social distancing. Last week, he did the same for state school boards, backing the order with the threat of removing funding from schools that require masks.

"Unfortunately, this governor also has handicapped our local governments by not allowing them to do any kind of restrictions, whether it's mask mandates or curfews or trying to put out correct information," she said.

Florida is currently experiencing record levels of coronavirus infection and spread. The highest daily case count on record came this weekend and the state just broke its record for hospitalizations on Sunday. More than 100,000 new cases are being reported in the state every single day and over 10,000 Floridians are currently hospitalized.

This article first appeared at our sister publication Orlando Weekly. 

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