“The point is, we are no longer in a state of emergency,” DeSantis said at a press conference. He acknowledged that Florida still had not completed its fight against the coronavirus, but reiterated the country’s decline in Covid-19 cases and deaths.
“I think it’s the evidence-based thing to do,” DeSantis said, adding that asking people vaccinated to continue to wear masks would undermine confidence in coronavirus vaccines.
Private companies can still demand masks and apply social distancing and other protective measures.
DeSantis signed a bill on Monday that codifies the decree into law, effective July 1. The decree, he said, was designed to “bridge the gap” until then. The measure, which effectively ends all local restrictions linked to the pandemic, also bans vaccine passports.
Florida has reported the third highest number of Covid-19 cases in the United States with more than 2.2 million since the start of the pandemic and the fourth highest number of deaths with more than 35,000 deaths, according to compiled data by Johns Hopkins University. The average of new cases there, however, fell more than 13% over the past week, falling to 4,885 on Sunday, the data showed.
The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Last week, the Biden administration announced a relaxation of federal public health guidelines on wearing masks outdoors.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that fully immunized people be able to exercise and attend small gatherings outdoors without wearing a face mask. The agency still recommends that fully vaccinated people wear a mask outdoors when in crowded areas.