ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed an executive order that will suspend all COVID-19 emergency orders issued by local governments in Florida.
DeSantis signed the executive order to bridge the gap before a law that accomplishes the same goal goes into effect on July 1.
Duval and surrounding counties don’t have mask mandates or ordinances in place anymore but some cities do as of Monday, like Fernandina Beach, where the mandate was likely going to be extended on Tuesday, according to the vice mayor.
But the city attorney now tells News4Jax it is going to have to look over the executive order before determining if and how it affects the city.
“I think that’s the evidence base thing to do,” DeSantis said during a news conference in St. Petersburg. “During any emergency, our businesses should be free from government mandates to close, and our schools should remain open for in-person instruction for our children.”
DeSantis said the new law would also allow the legislature to come in and potentially overrule any type of emergency order issued by a governor in the future.
The new order comes as health officials — including Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House chief medical advisor — said opening Florida without coronavirus precautions in place is a “risky proposition” as variants of the sometimes deadly virus continue to surge.
The Florida Department of Health reported 3,916 new cases on Sunday, bringing the state’s overall total to 2,242,778 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020. Florida reported 31 new virus-related deaths Sunday, bringing the death toll to 35,968.