As COVID-19 vaccines are becoming widely available throughout America, each state is handling its face mask and distancing policies a little differently. And, in Florida, things have been changing fairly quickly.
At the beginning of April, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order that bans both local governments and businesses from requiring vaccine passports. And Florida lawmakers recently made the restriction permanent in addition to limiting local emergency orders. But, things are still developing and now there’s a new executive order signed into law as of today.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, DeSantis has signed an executive order that suspends all COVID-19 emergency orders in local Florida governments. This means that all local government restrictions, including those in Orange County, related to the pandemic cannot be enforced.
The executive order is bridging the gap between now and July 1st, 2021 when a new law that essentially has the same effect and/or provides the governor with similar powers over local ordinances will take effect.
According to Executive Order Number 21-101, “any emergency order issued by a political subdivision due to the COVID-19 emergency which restricts the rights or liberties of individuals or their businesses is invalidated.” The Executive Order does not, however, that political subdivisions can still enact “ordinances pursuant to regular enactment procedures to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its local population. Only the COVID-19 emergency orders, as defined in SB 2006, enacted prior to July I, 2021, are hereby invalidated.”
Executive Order Number 21-102, which is a separate order, notes that “the State and the majority of local governments have declined to issue mask mandates.” It also notes that “a select number of local governments continue to impose mandates and business restrictions.” Then, it declares that “all local COVID-19 restrictions and mandates on individuals and businesses are hereby suspended.”
The Executive Order specifically “eliminates and supersedes any existing emergency order or ordinance issued by a county or municipality that imposes restrictions or mandates upon businesses or individuals due to the COVID-19 emergency.”
Also, for the remaining duration of Florida’s state of emergency, counties and municipalities are restricted from renewing or enacting emergency orders or ordinances (using certain emergency enactment procedures or a local state of emergency) that impose “restrictions or mandates upon businesses or individuals due to the COVID-19 emergency.”
Keep in mind that the bill the governor signed into law only applies to government action and local government entities in Florida, so private businesses, like Disney, will not be affected. DeSantis even clarified this, specifically with respect to the bill he signed into law, saying, “This bill applies to government action…In terms of what a…Disney theme park [chooses to do], this doesn’t have to do with that.”
We will continue to keep an eye out for developments, so stay tuned to AllEars for the latest.
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