Canadian journalist Josh Freed published an essay on Saturday unironically complaining about a lack of COVID restrictions in Florida after visiting the Sunshine State for vacation.
What did Freed say?
Writing in the Montreal Gazette, Freed explained that he and his wife recently "fled Quebec for a week" — likening himself, in response to harsh lockdown measures in Quebec, to a "refugee" — and jetted off to Florida.
Landing in Florida, Freed said, was like arriving on "another planet." He described Florida as "Cowboyland, where you barely know COVID is happening," which he called "lunacy by Canadian standards."
"Stores and supermarkets don’t require masks but some cashiers and customers wear them, though often under their nose or chin — Florida-style," Freed observed. "Restaurants are fully open and peeking into some, they’re mobbed. Waiters can choose whether to wear masks, and at least half don’t. In ever-friendly America, some customers even shake hands with their waiters before leaving, to say: 'Thanks, I’ll have some germs for dessert.'"
Freed even took issue with Florida media, which he complained were not giving sufficient attention to COVID.
"You can see the difference in the media, too. In Quebec, COVID totally dominates the news, because there’s almost nothing else happening," Freed wrote. "In Florida, it’s the reverse."
Freed went on to claim that life in Florida amid COVID is "health madness," but noted a "psychological upside." He explained that "COVID doesn’t dominate all life" in Florida as opposed to Quebec.
"We Montrealers live in a tense, depressing pandemic bubble — all-COVID, all the time — which is why many people avoid following the news," Freed admitted.
Freed even noted, again unironically, that thousands of Quebec residents have explored moving to Florida since the pandemic began, and observed how easy it was to receive a free PCR COVID test in the Sunshine State. Such tests in Canada, Freed noted, are both expensive and hard to come by.
What was the reaction?
Freed was widely mocked on social media after the publication of his essay.
Florida-based NBC News reporter Marc Captuo noted that Freed had "choke[d] a bit on a Florida redpill," while Canadian news publisher Ezra Levant observed that Freed's ironic complaints demonstrate "distrust in the corporate media."
"This is why people not only distrust the corporate media, but hate them," Levant said. "A pro-lockdown journalist from Quebec jets down to Florida for a luxury vacation so he can escape the curfew. And in between cocktails he says how much he hates it there."