Orange County

Senator says it’s ‘irresponsible’ that Florida doesn’t have statewide face mask mandate

ORLANDO, Fla. — Sen. Linda Stewart of Orange County said it’s “irresponsible” that the state doesn’t have a statewide face mask mandate.

Stewart told Channel 9 why she’s meeting with the governor’s staff Thursday to request a statewide mask mandate.

“They don’t want to close the businesses down. Well, the least that they can do is make everybody wear a mask,” she said.

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Hours earlier, Stewart sent a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis citing Florida’s 60,000 infections and 160 coronavirus-related deaths in the last week.

Stewart believes a mandate for Florida will help reduce community spread and confusion. Some Central Florida cities have mask mandates but the counties around them don’t.

“It needs to be consistent,” Stewart said.

Read: Orange County Public Schools outlines plans for in-class, virtual learning

The issue continues to spark debate. Just last week, Rep. Anthony Sabatini, also an attorney, filed a lawsuit against Orange County’s face mask order.

“The order itself is highly illegal. It violates arguably three of the four different parts of the Constitution and on top of that it’s bad policy,” he said.

Stewart’s response? “It’s a violation of my rights to require me to get sick with COVID,” she said.

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Stewart said she also believes a mask mandate would drive valuable data needed for schools to make decisions.

Meanwhile, Sabatini said he will continue to sue other counties that issue these mandates.