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West Orange Times & Observer Monday, May 3, 2021 1 year ago

DeSantis announces halt to all local coronavirus emergency orders

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced he is using his executive power to suspend local COVID-19 emergency orders.
by: Danielle Hendrix Former Associate Editor

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday, May 3, that he is immediately suspending all local COVID-19 emergency orders by executive order.

During a news conference in St. Petersburg, DeSantis also signed into law a bill restricting what both governors and mayors can do during pandemics.

The bill, Senate Bill 2006, states that emergency orders could only last as long as 42 days. It also gives DeSantis the authority to overrule cities and counties at any time, while city and county commissions receive the power to overrule mayors.

DeSantis said he believes this is “the evidence-based thing to do.” He will use his executive power to suspend the local government emergency orders until a bill goes into effect July 1, invalidating all remaining local coronavirus emergency orders.

“At the end of the day, the evidence tells us that we are over a year into this,” DeSantis said. “People can act with normal order, but emergency orders, these extraordinary measures at this point are not justifiable.”

Orange County has been under a mask mandate and social-distancing guidelines for months now, but Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings announced last week a plan to phase out restrictions based on how quickly the county was vaccinated. 

It’s currently unclear how DeSantis’ order will affect the mask mandate for the county. However, businesses could still require masks, DeSantis said.

“We are waiting for a copy of the governor’s executive order and what it means for Orange County,” said Kelly Finkelstein, senior public information officer for the county.

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Danielle Hendrix was an associate editor for the West Orange Times & Observer, Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com.

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