Ron DeSantis touts record Florida tourism amid pandemic closures elsewhere

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Tuesday that the state set new tourism records in 2021, and he lashed out at Democrats in the locked-down state who vacationed without a mask in the state.

The governor’s office released statistics showing the Sunshine State welcomed 117.7 million visitors from across the United States last year, which DeSantis officials say is a record number.

The increase was 7% in the last quarter of 2021, compared to the same period in 2019.

Visitors included Democratic government officials and other luminaries who have imposed or supported lockdown, mask and vaccine mandates in their own states, including Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and the Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont.

Mr. Lamont spent Christmas in Florida after warning Connecticut residents in July to “skip Florida” due to the risk of contracting COVID-19.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat and outspoken advocate for masks and the vaccination mandate, was caught without a mask in Miami during the Christmas holidays.

Mr. DeSantis has become known for pushing back on COVID-19 protocols and fighting mask and vaccine mandates in his state through executive orders, new laws and legal challenges.

He has responded to criticism from Democrats and health experts who say his policies have contributed to an increase in COVID transmissions, but the statistics have largely undermined those claims.

Florida’s new case positivity rate last week was 14.3%, according to state health officials, which is somewhere in the middle of U.S. states.

State officials reported 195 new deaths related to COVID-19 last week.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

About Bobby F. Lopez

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