Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called out students who were wearing masks during his speech Wednesday at the University of South Florida.
DeSantis, who has been criticized for his lax efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, was in Tampa to announce new cybersecurity education funding for the school.
“You don’t have to wear those masks,” huh said with frustration.
The comments generated laughter from the crowd. WFLA, an NBC affiliate in Tampa, caught video of DeSantis making the comments.
“I mean, please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything and we’ve gotta stop with this COVID theater. So, if you want to wear it, fine. But this is ridiculous.”
— WFLA NEWS (@WFLA) March 2, 2022
After the remark towards the students, DeSantis continued his speech looking noticeably irritated. DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw responded unapologetically about the situation.
I mean, someone had to say it, after 2 years of propaganda that terrified and manipulated young people. Breathe free, feel safe and be happy. https://t.co/oRVwI0dYpq
— Christina Pushaw __ (@ChristinaPushaw) March 2, 2022
DeSantis had previously threatened to fine businesses for each employee who was required to get a vaccine to keep their job in Florida.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that people who wear a mask are less likely to contract COVID compared to those who don’t.
The CDC has recently updated the protocol. The agency said Americans can safely go indoors at public places and schools without a mask in places where COVID hospitalizations are not high.