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Gov. DeSantis signs executive order ending local COVID-19 mandates

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 6:48 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Mask mandates, and other local order COVID-19 restrictions, have come to and end, according to two Emergency Orders signed by Governor Ron DeSantis. In a press conference Monday morning, Governor DeSantis says his goal is for residents of Florida to live freely again.

The two orders end mask mandates from counties and cities in Florida and ends all outstanding emergency orders, as well as limiting future orders to be more short term.

In the executive order he signed it states that since all eligible Floridians can get the vaccine, there’s no longer a need to continue COVID-19 restrictions. Private businesses, however, can still enforce the usage of masks and social distancing on their property.

“I think a lot of local businesses will have to decide what they want to do. There’s other areas around the state where they used to have a mandatory mask order, where businesses are still requiring that, so I think that will move the local decision to the local businesses. Some businesses may still require that if you enter their business that you wear a mask, others may not,” Ken Cornell, Chair of the Alachua County Commission said, “I think a lot of folks still think it’s a little early and then you have a number of folks who think it’s time.”

Related Story: Gov. DeSantis invalidates all local COVID-19 emergency orders

Alachua County has not fined any business for not enforcing the current mandate, and Cornell mentioned that they took an educational approach to try to stop the spread of COVID-19. The previous mandate was set to expire May 12 if commissioners decided not to extend the mandate further.

The Alachua County Commission will meet May 4 to discuss DeSantis’ decision and the plan going forward.

To read the full mandate, click HERE.

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