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DeSantis Calls for Counties to Inform State of Local COVID Mandates

STATEWIDE — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Friday ordered all 67 counties to send his office their COVID-19 mandates by September 15, some business owners and county leaders said.

The owner of Orlando restaurant Too Much Sauce, Evan Dimov, said his staff continues to work hard to meet all COVID-19  regulations, but he said it can get confusing for customers when counties implement different orders.


What You Need To Know

  • Governor also wants to know how regulations are enforced
  • Seminole emergency manager says Central Florida rules are working
  • Some business owners say different county rules confuse customers

“Sometimes we have customers that come from a different county, and we ask them to wear a mask, and they say ‘Well, um, I did not know you had to wear a mask in Orange County,’ ” Dimov said. 

In the case of mask mandates, counties in Central Florida instituted them at varying times.

DeSantis also wants county leaders to inform his office about any enforcement associated with their county’s regulations, such as fines and jail time, and how many citations, fines, and arrests counties have made for people not following COVID-19 mandates.

Seminole County Emergency Manager Alan Harris said Seminole officials weren’t expecting an order like this because they already report these details to the state.

“It’s kind of unusual because we already give this information to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, a department of his [government], of the office of the governor…so it’s already up in Tallahassee, but we can certainly copy and paste that and send it right over to his office,” Harris said. 

The governor’s staff has not yet responded to requests about why he’s requesting the information now.

If the plan is to set statewide guidelines, Seminole County would go along with it, Harris said, but that Central Florida counties are doing just fine setting their own standards.

“What we’re doing here has worked,” Harris said. “The numbers are decreasing. He’s benefiting by that, by the decreases.” 

Dimov, on the other hand, said he would welcome statewide guidelines to ease confusion.

“From my perspective, it would be easier to have just one standard regulation,” Dimov said. 

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