"I was very scared and I still am. I have pre-existing conditions. I would not survive [COVID-19]"

SARASOTA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Susan Thomas is a seasonal resident living in Venice, a small coastal town in Sarasota County. She is living in fear as little has been done on behalf of local officials to protect seniors during the pandemic.

“Yeah, I mean, I got really, really scared in March. I was very scared and I still am. I have pre-existing conditions. I would not survive [COVID-19],” said Thomas. “You know, I don’t understand the lack of a mask order. I just don’t understand it.”

Her response to the issue began back in June when she sent an email to Sarasota County Commissioners. Just days before, officials would vote on whether or not to require face masks, she urged them to pass an order requiring them. In her email, she stated she wouldn’t return to [brick and mortar] shopping until citizens were required to wear masks, also noting that local economy would be impacted by their decision.

“Where it really hit home is when I had to do my will. I’m 62, and I was like, ‘oh my God’ and it made me so sad,” said Thomas. But to her surprise, county officials voted not to require face coverings. “There’s nothing in the county, I was shocked. Venice…and that really is a village, just the little island of Venice. They did not pass it and I’m just shocked.”

Thomas then reached out to Governor DeSantis’ office but says nothing was done. “And I just wonder, you know, I listen to the Governor and I just don’t see him doing anything to protect us. And he says, ‘oh we’re protecting seniors’, and I’m thinking ‘what does that mean?’. When he thinks seniors, he thinks people in nursing homes,” said Thomas.

As top health officials across the U.S. are pleading for universal mask mandates, the latest data shows more than half of U.S. states now have that mandate in place as COVID-19 remains a threat. But she’s upset Florida isn’t following suit, given it’s number of positive cases. “Honestly, it blows my mind. I’m– I’m more scared now than I was before,” said Thomas.

CW44 News at 10 also reached out to Governor DeSantis’ office with Susan’s concerns asking if anything had been done or was in the works to help protect seniors, but we have not heard back.

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