ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — One week ago, five Florida mayors including Mayor Rick Kriseman of St. Petersburg hosted a virtual news conference calling on the governor to change his approach to the coronavirus pandemic.
The mayors asked Gov. Ron DeSantis for four things: A statewide mask mandate, more state testing, a better contact tracing system, and more freedom for local governments to implement restrictions.
The city leaders hoped to get a response from DeSantis; but seven days later, Mayor Kriseman says the governor has not acknowledged their concerns.
"This isn’t partisan because there’s Republican governors all over this country who are stepping up and leading their state. Unfortunately, that’s not happening in Florida," said Kriseman.
Kriseman said although he's not surprised by DeSantis' silence, he is disappointed.
"Our numbers are not getting better in the state of Florida. They’re getting worse. To not address it, to not speak out publicly and answer questions really does show a lack of concern, a lack of leadership. It’s incredibly disappointing," he added.
Governor DeSantis has not held a news conference since Nov. 4, the day after the election, to brag about Florida's speedy ballot counting.
10 Tampa Bay has repeatedly asked the governor's office why he's stopped holding media availability as coronavirus cases climb and health experts plead with the public to be vigilant during this critical stage of the pandemic.
It has been nine days since we started asking the governor for a response to the rising COVID-19 numbers across the state. It's been 21 days since he took questions from Florida journalists at the podium. If we get a response, we will update this story.
Gov. DeSantis has started to release recorded video messages regarding vaccines and treatment for the coronavirus. In his latest tweet, DeSantis talked about the vaccine distribution plan for Florida -- noting that long-term care facilities and front-line workers would be first to get the vaccine.
He has not mentioned mitigation efforts or safety reminders.
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