Advocacy groups ask public to call Gov. DeSantis to mandate face masks statewide; the number is 850-717-9337

    Disposable masks that lie flat and expand over the face should be blue on the outside, with pleats pointing downward. Check if the manufacturer is FDA approved. Credit: AEA Group LLC

    Two Florida advocacy groups have joined the fight for a statewide face mask mandate, encouraging people to call Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office and urge him to use his executive powers to save lives.

    In a video released Thursday, Florida Watch, described as a “progressive digital first organization,” and the nonprofit Progress Florida, cited medical experts recommending use of face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic that “would save the lives of nearly 8,000 Floridians by October alone.”

    Florida Watch said in a Facebook post Thursday:

    “The virus is rapidly spreading and it’s time for real leadership. Call DeSantis today at 850-717-9337: tell him it’s time to enact a statewide protective mask requirement. Then, share this video to spread the word.”

    The groups slammed DeSantis in the video for “failed leadership” and said that “Florida has become a global hotspot for COVID-19.”

    Josh Weierbach is executive director of Florida Watch, and has been active in Democratic Party political campaigns, according to his LinkedIn page.

    He said in a written statement that “Gov. DeSantis needs to quit playing politics with this deadly disease and with the health of Floridians.”

    The campaign launch came as the state’s number of COVID-19 cases has risen to more than 200,000, and some state lawmakers have requested that DeSantis issue an immediate statewide mask mandate.

    Last week, several House Democrats released a letter addressed to DeSantis, stressing the effectiveness of face masks to combat COVID-19. Here is a previous Florida Phoenix report on that issue.

    “Leading medical experts from across the globe have stressed that using face masks reduces exposure to the virus, potentially saving countless lives,” the lawmakers wrote.

    “This is not a partisan issue; this is an issue of life and death.”

    Issac Morgan
    Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.