Physicians again demand statewide mask order as judge upholds local mandate

Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 10:23 PM CDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - The debate over a statewide mask order continues to heat up as a group of physicians returned to the Governor’s mansion once again, this time with the ‘Grim Reaper’, to demand executive action.

The legal battle challenging local mask orders is also playing out in court.

Friday’s 11,385 new cases works out to one Floridian being infected with the coronavirus every seven and a half seconds.

“Governor, you just can’t spin your way out of this reality,” said Dr. Ron Saff with Physicians for Social Responsibility.

The physicians, along with more than 1,000 doctors and healthcare workers who have signed a petition, blame the latest spike in part on the reluctance of the Governor to issue a statewide mask mandate.

“Florida is frighteningly becoming an epicenter for the virus,” said Dr. Saff.

This is the second time in less than a month the physicians have protested in front of the Governor’s Mansion... this time joined by Daniel Uhlfelder, better recognized as the grim reaper often seen traveling the state.

He contrasted the precautions the Governor has taken for himself and his family with the precautions put in place for the public.

“Open the Capitol! Because you’re killing Floridians!” said Uhlfelder.

Multiple localities have issued their own mask orders, including Leon County where the Capitol is located.

But not everyone supports mandating masks.

Rep Anthony Sabatini is spearheading legal challenges of seven local orders.

A virtual hearing was held for the lawsuit against the Leon County ordinance Friday.

“In South Florida, where they’ve had these mask ordinances from the beginning, we have not seen a different trajectory or different trend in hospitalizations and death,” said Sabatini during the hearing.

But the judge chose to uphold the ordinance.

And doctors hope that will send a clear message.

“Why are we even taking this question seriously? Mr. Sabatini, let’s get real,” said Dr. Donald Axelrad with Physicians for Social Responsibility.

But the ruling will likely do little to change the Governor’s stance on the issue anytime soon.

The Governor has continued to dismiss the idea of a statewide order, despite the Republican Governorin Texas mandating masks as his state experiences a similar spike in cases.

Physicians for Social Responsibility is urging Floridians who support a statewide order to call or email the Governor to express their opinion on the matter.

You can call his office at 850-717-9337 or email to make your voice heard.

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