Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Monday, May 3, that eliminates all local restrictions to combat the statewide pandemic caused by the CCP Virus (COVID-19), becoming one of the few governors to make this decision. The order also suspends all local emergency legislation effective July 1.

DeSantis on Monday suspended local emergency orders against the virus and also signed a proposal lawmakers approved last week that limits the government’s ability to impose mandatory masks and other social distancing measures that were used to combat the CCP Virus over the past year.

The proposal by lawmakers and recently approved by the governor also incorporates a standing executive order by DeSantis banning “vaccine passports,” arguing that it is unnecessary to “police people at this time.”

The legislation will cause it to be more difficult from now on for local governments to mandate measures such as the use of masks or impose limits on businesses by requiring emergency orders to be narrowly tailored and made in seven-day increments for a total of no more than 42 days.

“I’m going to sign the bill. It’s effective July 1. I’ll also sign an executive order pursuant to that bill invalidating all remaining local emergency COVID orders effective on July 1,” the Republican governor said in a news conference in St. Petersburg on Monday. “But then, to bridge the gap between then and now, I’m going to suspend, under my executive power, the local emergency orders as it relates to COVID.”

DeSantis repeatedly came out as a major opponent of restrictions on freedom and so-called vaccine passports, arguing that they would only serve to create two classes of citizens: the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, fueling discrimination.

“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.” DeSantis said Monday at the press conference.

Florida was one of the first U.S. states to allow businesses to reopen after the initial waves of the disease last year, and since that time Governor DeSantis has criticized other states for keeping COVID restrictions in place.

DeSantis based the recent decision on data indicating a clear decline in cases of the CCV Virus in Florida, in part due to the successful vaccination campaign conducted over the past several months, the governor said. 

Florida has so far fully vaccinated 37% of its population and while there are enough vaccines to continue the campaign, there would be strong resistance in a large segment of the population to receive the vaccine due to the large number of records indicating serious adverse effects, including many cases of thrombosis followed by death.