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Florida governor says the state will remain open without restrictions amid rising virus cases

Governor DeSantis is keeping all schools open and banning mask mandates.

Updated: December 1, 2020 - 5:05pm

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has taken a stance against pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions in recent months, and during a press conference Monday reaffirmed his oppositions even amid a nationwide spike in coronavirus cases.

Schools in Florida remain open under the requirement that school districts offer the option of in-person and virtual learning to all students. Just last week, DeSantis, a Republican, renewed a bill banning mask mandates, which prevents cities from enacting their own mask rules.

"No one's losing their job because of a government dictate. Nobody's losing their livelihood or business. That is totally off the table," said DeSantis, adding that the states that are locked down are increasing cases at twice the rate of Florida. "The harm from [closing schools] is going to reverberate in those communities for years and years to come." 

The governor has been quiet in recent weeks, but told reporters that he has been busy working on the distribution of the vaccine with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed.

Reminding the public of his belief that shutting the state down would do more harm than good, DeSantis said government mandates don't work.

"If you see someplace in California, or Illinois, or New York closing schools ... parents need to have peace of mind. We’re going to be here for you in Florida."

His strong stance on keeping the state open may also help the state's tourism industry flourish through the holidays.