“I get a little bit frustrated when I see some of these jurisdictions saying, ‘Even if you’re healthy and vaccinated, you must wear a mask because we’re seeing increased cases,’” he said on July 21. “Understand what that message is sending to people who aren’t vaccinated: It’s telling them that the vaccines don’t work. I think that’s the worst message that you can send to people at this time.”
On Wednesday, though, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced an indoor mask requirement for all county-operated facilities in Miami-Dade County and a strong recommendation for masks in all large crowds or close spaces. “We have all come too far,” she said. “We have all sacrificed too much in this past almost year-and-a-half. We cannot turn back now.”
Most of the recent friction over face coverings in Florida has centered on whether to require masks in schools, as most did last school year. Mr. DeSantis has been adamant in his opposition: On Monday, he held a private discussion with friendly panelists who were uniformly against the idea, including one who insisted that masking children amounted to “abuse.”
On Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale, the Broward County school board postponed its masking policy workshop after the building lobby filled with people like Chris Nelson, a 38-year-old D.J. who has no children in the school system but has become an activist for reopening the economy. His T-shirt read, “NOT VACCINATED.”
“They were going to decide today whether they were going to continue to suffocate children with masks,” he said. He referred to the C.D.C. as the “Clown Disease Center” and dismissed its guidance: “We all know what that means: masks in the shower, swimming pools, the ocean.”
Outside, he and others staged a mask burning — his sixth or seventh of the pandemic, he said.
But the C.D.C.’s latest recommendation made many other parents in Florida feel relief and hope. The guidelines could give cover to local school boards that would like to require masks but fear defying the governor.