On Sunday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) was in attendance at The National Football League’s Super Bowl championship game and related festivities in his home state.
Following the event, the governor maintained a nonchalant attitude to those who criticized him for not wearing a face mask, The Daily Caller reported.
“Drink a beer with a mask on?”
According to Politico reporter Marc Caputo, DeSantis responded during a press conference Monday to a photo on social media that showed him talking with someone in a nearby seat, with neither individual wearing a mask.
DeSantis said, “Someone said, ‘hey, you were at the Super Bowl without a mask’ … but how the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on? Come on. I had to watch the Bucs win.”
Caught DeSantis before he left an event and he brought up this picture on his own by saying, “Someone said, ‘hey, you were at the Super Bowl without a mask’ … but how the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on? Come on. I had to watch the Bucs win.” https://t.co/OEDAeW2eGM
— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) February 8, 2021
In addition to the photo of DeSantis, there was also plenty of photos and video of other people at the Super Bowl or celebratory gatherings afterward who were not wearing face masks or adhering to social distancing recommendations due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, The Associated Press reported.
That led to quite a bit of consternation from Tampa Mayor Jane Castor (D), who prior to the game had imposed a largely symbolic and unenforceable mask mandate on the city as a precaution against fears of a “superspreader” event that would result in a spike of new cases.
“It is a little frustrating because we have worked so hard,” Castor said during a press conference Monday. “At this point in dealing with COVID-19, there is a level of frustration when you see that.”
However, her tune shifted slightly later in the day during a separate press conference during which she acknowledged that a “majority” of those who attended the game or celebrations afterward had complied with her order for everyone to wear masks.
“I’m opposed to mandates”
The hard reality for folks like Mayor Castor is that, regardless of how frustrated she might be by those who ignored her mask mandate, the fact is that local mandate are overridden and unenforceable thanks to an earlier executive order from DeSantis that explicitly prohibits fines and penalties for non-compliance with mask mandates, according to the AP.
The Palm Beach Post reported in November that DeSantis had been adamant that Florida would not be imposing any mask mandates, business or school closures, or stay-at-home lockdown orders, as has been the case in many other states.
“I’m opposed to mandates, period. I don’t think they work,” the governor said at that time. “People in Florida wear (masks) when they go out. They don’t have to be strung up by a bayonet to do it.”