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. According to the Institute for County Government and the Florida Association of Counties, no current emergency orders remain in Northeast Florida.
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.
“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.”
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.
Mayors weigh in:”We’re still in an emergency,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. “It feels a little bit like the governor is spiking the ball at the 10-yard line,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. “Under no objective set of criteria are we safe yet,” Broward Mayor Steve Geller
— Mary Ellen Klas (@MaryEllenKlas) May 3, 2021
The bill signed Monday also will prohibit “vaccine passports,” the controversial idea that would allow businesses to require vaccines.
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