PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday reiterated his firm stance that the Sunshine State will not be locked down again to control the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
"We are having no lockdowns. No mandates in Florida," DeSantis said at a new COVID-19 vaccination site in Panama City.
It comes after President Joe Biden last week suggested that America may have to impose a new round of coronavirus-related restrictions if citizens don't do their part by getting vaccinated, wearing face coverings, washing your hands, and staying socially distant.
"If we don't stay vigilant and the conditions change, then we may have to reinstate restrictions to get back on track," President Biden said. "And please, we don't want to do that again."
Speaking in the Florida Panhandle on Thursday, DeSantis praised the state's efforts to vaccinate more than 3 million senior citizens ages 65 and older, something he said is allowing businesses and schools to remain open.
"People are able to make decisions for themselves. They can understand what they want to do or not do," DeSantis said. "We're gonna be there to support everybody's right to earn a living, all parents' ability to send their kids to school, and people's ability to live their life as they see fit."
During President Biden's prime-time address last week, he directed all states to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to all adults by May 1 in an effort to return the U.S. to a state of normalcy by July 4.
Florida residents who are 60 and older are now eligible to receive the vaccine statewide.
DeSantis said he's expecting to lower the age of eligibility to 55 and older "certainly in March" and "probably pretty soon."
"I think that we're going in the right direction. We're not done. We gotta continue making sure these vaccines get out," DeSantis said.