This week, U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., led a letter calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to offer free or affordable masks and face coverings as Florida continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Wilson rounded up other Democrats in the Florida congressional delegation to sign the letter. Besides Wilson, other signers included Florida Democrat U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Val Demings, Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, Darren Soto and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
“In the past few weeks, the rate of confirmed coronavirus infections has surged in Florida, making it one of the nation’s top five hot spots. On July 4, for example, the state reported a record-breaking, single-day high of 11,458 new cases and the daily numbers continue to climb at alarming rates.
“To combat this disturbing trend, at least 44 localities have issued measures strongly encouraging or mandating that people wear face coverings in public settings. We applaud these efforts and encourage similar state-wide requirements but encourage you to take steps to ensure that all Floridians, especially low-income residents, can easily access free or low-cost face coverings,” the Democrats wrote.
They urged the state government to set up automated face mask dispensers across the state.
“More than 100 medical and scientific experts have called for requirements to wear masks in public based on overwhelming evidence that face coverings are an effective measure to curb coronavirus transmissions,” the Democrats wrote. “Without such mandates, our ability to overcome this pandemic will be greatly impaired, which is why we must ensure that it is as easy as possible for Floridians to access face coverings.”
Wilson weighed in on the letter on Wednesday.
“In recent weeks, there has been a great deal of tension between law enforcement and citizens in several states across the United States. This public health crisis should be an issue around which all Americans can come together,” said Wilson. “Dispersing mask dispensers throughout the state will help us achieve that goal and cool down what has become one of the nation’s top hot spots.”
Wilson’s office noted she is “developing legislation that would federally mandate the use of face masks in indoor public settings and outside when it is not possible to maintain six feet of distance from someone who is not a member of the same household” and the bill “also creates a novel grant program to provide funding to states to make available widespread mask dispensers.”
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