Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) suspended all of the state’s remaining COVID-19 restrictions through an executive order Monday, calling it “the evidence-based thing to do” while citing the availability of vaccines. 

The Florida governor declared the suspension of restrictions at a press conference in St. Petersburg, Fla., where he signed a bill passed by the legislature last week that allows the governor to overrule local emergency orders starting July 1. 

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DeSantis also signed a separate executive order removing all local orders July 1, but he said his executive order outlawing COVID-19 emergency orders immediately served to “bridge the gap” between now and July 1. 

“I think that's the evidence-based thing to do,” he said. “I think folks that are saying that they need to be policing people at this point — if you're saying that, you really are saying you don't believe in the vaccines, you don't believe in the data, you don't believe in the science.”

“Given the situation we find ourselves in, given that the legislature spoke very clearly about this, given the fact that we have widespread availability of vaccines, that the vaccines are effective, I think ... the fact is we're no longer in a state of emergency,” he added. 

Florida has stayed under a state of emergency since March 2020, and last week, DeSantis extended the state of emergency for an additional 60 days.  

The governor, who is seen as a potential 2024 presidential candidate, labeled the emergency orders as “not justifiable” and “extraordinary” at the current point in the pandemic and with the “surplus” of vaccines. Read more at The Hill