Gov. Ron DeSantis took aim at President Joe Biden on Friday, saying, “I am not going to let him lock down Florida” again, even if the coronavirus pandemic worsens.
The Republican governor also said he hoped to announce by next week the date on which the age to get the COVID-19 vaccine would fall to 55 in Florida and repeated that it was his goal to have all adults in the state eligible to be inoculated before the end of April. The age will drop from 65 to 60 starting Monday, the governor has said.
In his address to the nation Thursday night, Biden said he wanted all adults eligible for the shots by May 1.
The governor made the remark about Biden apparently in response to a portion of that speech where the president urged all Americans to get vaccinated, wear masks and practice social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“But if we don’t stay vigilant and the conditions change, then we may have to reinstate restrictions to get back on track. And, please, we don’t want to do that again,’' Biden said.
DeSantis, who has proudly declared Florida “open for business” for months now, said, “to even contemplate any sort of lockdown ... that’s insane.”
He also said he was perplexed about the president’s stated goal of holding small gatherings by the Fourth of July.
“We’ve been doing that for over a year in Florida,” said DeSantis, one of the biggest supporters of former President Trump, who lost to Biden in November.
The governor was speaking at a news conference to establish a “pop-up” site in Sebastian in Brevard County, where he said 1,000 Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccines would be available for the next four days.
He said the goal is to get more seniors in Brevard County inoculated against the virus that has killed more than 32,000 Floridians and infected nearly 2 million statewide.
Asked by a reporter how the state would handle the greater demand when the age is lowered, DeSantis said the vaccination “infrastructure” in Florida was in good shape, unlike in the early days of the vaccine rollout in December when frustrated seniors faced crashed websites and long lines.
He pointed to the hundreds of retail pharmacies now delivering shots and other state and federal options available to anyone who wants the vaccine.
He also said that he anticipated that younger Floridians might not be as eager as seniors to get inoculated, predicting that less than half of people 40 or younger would want the vaccine.