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Group of Florida mayors calls on DeSantis to issue mask mandate

A group of mayors in Florida called on Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisFlorida makes bid for Olympics if Tokyo backs out Florida scientist who accused state of manipulating coronavirus data tests positive for COVID-19, turns herself in Overnight Health Care: Testing capacity strained as localities struggle with vaccine staffing | Health workers refusing vaccine is growing problem | Incoming CDC director expects 500,000 COVID deaths by mid-February MORE (R) to issue a statewide mask mandate during a conference call on Wednesday to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak in the Sunshine State.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported that the mayors of Miami Beach, Sunrise, St. Petersburg, Hialeah and Miami Shores Village urged DeSantis to take a range of actions to confront the outbreak, including expanding state testing and contact tracing efforts.

“It’s unmistakably clear that Florida’s approach to managing this pandemic is failing pretty horribly,” said Miami Beach's mayor, Dan Gelber (D), according to the newspaper.

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“The window is closing and closing fast,” added Hialeah's mayor, Carlos Hernandez (R). “If we sit here and don’t do anything, I don’t want to be the one sitting here talking about closing businesses again or the hospitals are overcrowded.”

The mayors said that a mask mandate was among the key steps necessary to allow Florida's businesses to remain open to prevent another coronavirus outbreak from spiraling out of control.

Florida's rate of new coronavirus cases has risen in recent weeks but has not yet reached the same levels at which it peaked earlier this year. The state recorded just under 7,500 new cases on Tuesday and has seen more than 905,000 infections since the pandemic began.

DeSantis, a Republican and top ally of President TrumpDonald TrumpBlinken holds first calls as Biden's secretary of State Senators discussing Trump censure resolution Dobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' MORE, has been resistant to measures to address the virus that other governors in smaller states have taken. In September, he also barred local officials from enforcing mask mandates put in place by various localities in the state.