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City of Gainesville tells the state all COVID-19 directives are “voided,” but masking requirements remain in place

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

The City of Gainesville told the Florida Department of Health that it has voided all of the COVID-19 directives that were put in place in an August 12 memorandum from City Manager Lee Feldman, including requirements to wear masks in City facilities and all requirements related to vaccination for employees, but employees are still required to wear masks indoors, and masks are still required on RTS buses. There has been no announcement about whether citizens have to wear masks in City facilities, although the statement to us from the City was quite clear that “all directives have been voided.”

The August 12 Memorandum from City Manager Lee Feldman laid out the charter officers’ response to the City Commission’s 8-part motion on August 5. The memorandum required all employees to attest to their vaccination status and to be fully vaccinated by October 14 (this was later extended to October 31). Other provisions in Feldman’s memorandum included a requirement for the general public to be masked in order to interact with or receive service from GRU employees, and any employee traveling outside of Alachua County, involving an overnight stay on official City business, was required to be fully vaccinated.

The memorandum also required temperature screening when entering City facilities, masks for all employees and individuals “when in common areas of City facilities.,” and masks on RTS buses.

The travel ban was reversed for the Search & Rescue team during Hurricane Ida, but we received no response to our request at the time for information about whether that was a one-time decision or applied to all employees. 

On September 22, a judge granted an emergency temporary injunction to City employees, blocking enforcement of the vaccine mandate, and on September 23, the Gainesville City Commission rescinded the vote they had taken on August 5. 

On September 27, the City received notification from the State that they would be fined $5,000 per employee for requiring employees to attest to their vaccination status, and on September 28, Feldman sent a response saying that the city commission had rescinded “their August 5th action related to COVID-19. Based upon that rescission, the directives enumerated in my memoranda dated August 12, 2021 and updated August 14, 2021 have been voided.”

We asked for the August 14 update and received a response from City Communications Director Shelby Taylor that “the date referenced in Mr. Feldman’s letter to the state (Aug. 14) was incorrect” and that Feldman was referring to an email that was sent to employees on August 20, letting them know that the vaccine deadline had been extended to October 1 for the first dose and October 31 for the second dose. Taylor also wrote, “Employees are not required to attest to their vaccination status and are not subject to disciplinary measures.”

Taylor further wrote that “All directives have been voided.” We asked Taylor to confirm that all the directives in the memorandum have been voided, “including those governing mask requirements for City employees and in City buildings.” She again confirmed that “all directives have been voided” and did not point us to any policies that may have replaced those directives.

However, today’s GRU Daily told employees that beginning Monday, October 4, employees must wear masks indoors or in vehicles if they can’t remain at least 6 feet apart, but employees are not required to wear masks outdoors. This does not seem to be significantly different from the directives in the memorandum regarding masking of employees, which we were unequivocally told were voided.

The directives also included a requirement to wear masks on any RTS bus. We waited on hold with RTS customer service for over 25 minutes, but nobody answered. Taylor told us on October 6 that RTS will continue to rely on federal guidance that requires masks on buses.

Screenshots from the August 12 memorandum are below.

  • RTS is under Federal DOT rules (on a lot of stuff including operator work-hours, training & masks – like airlines)
    School buses are also Federally regulated.
    “public conveyance”

    • George. Not so fast you double masker…RTS is under
      C of G jurisdiction & the city manager can say no mask.
      ACPS is jurisdiction for school buses and they don’t
      Have to require masks either. Stop with the misinformation.

      • When you try to work around a law like how the city
        Is trying to work around “all directives have been voided” with the masks, that’s called racketeering.
        Where’s the SA office on this?

    • Not sure they care about federal law as they have Biden and Pisslosey to protect them. PO would slobber all over himself to get to meet her and lick her shoes clean.

    • Not sure our Mayor PO cares about violating any federal law or regulation as he would lover to get the attention of feds like Nancy P so he could slobber all over himself and lick her high heeled shoes clean.

    • Who will put this five year dumpster fire at city hall out? Get out there voters and don’t leave a single one in office. They should NEVER be elected to anything the rest of their lives.

  • All employees were required to “attest” to their vaccination status by September 7 2021. Therefore the correct response to the state would have been “approximately all 2300 employees were required to comply with the attestation order”.

  • Crime and shootings have become rampant in the People’s Republic of Gainesville yet they worry about masking and muzzling their employees. This is going on all over the country in these mostly Democratic run cities.

  • And what of the City’s recent motion to vacate the injunction? Any idea what that is about? Gestapo tactics.

  • Fully vaxxed are getting COVID and dying, too. This is all a big charade and a test run put together. We should have done NOTHING and COVID would be waning, gone by now.

  • Our city government is a scary clown show. It would be pure comedy if the mayor and commission weren’t so intent on tyrannical overreach, and so determined to make Gainesville the most “progressive” (leftist) little city in America…

    • Yep, you’re right. But the underlying reason has always been self promotion! These mostly white, woke, Musketeers (namely Poe, Ward, Hayes -not a minority as claimed btw) believe in making news by being so leftist and think they’ll personally thrive in AOC and Joe’s New America. They also clearly derive pleasure and sense of power from their edicts and orders. The reality is all 3 are miserable failures at everything and lie about their past. In this incident, they’ve been hit in the pocketbook and are now crying like babies. Throw these idiots out!

      • The mask is a political statement…it’s like “putting up
        A chain link fence to stop a mosquito”…it’s the commie flag…submission to control.

    • Yes…some people get sexually excited about controlling
      & dominating others…bunch of sick bastards. They
      Want to try & perpetuate this BS forever…their plan
      Is crumbling. They did have success at destroying
      The US$ & our economy…Freedom & Liberty are
      Worth fighting for…Culpeper motto!

  • I love seeing the state slap down these nutjobs. But OF COURSE they kept “The Cloth” for employees. Can’t give up that virtue signal!

    • The employees need to wear that mask properly now and keep
      Their nose inside it…so, a patron goes on the city bus
      And then sits down and takes his mask off…what are you going to do, get the federal bus Marshall to throw
      Him off the bus? What, you going to throw him in jail
      Or fine him? What’s the penalty? There is none…
      This is all political theatre by the local commies.

      • They need to post under what authority that the bus
        Riders are to wear masks and cite the law with the
        Penalty stated in large 1” letters or they can just pound sand.

  • Funny how they claim all these things are no longer in effect – go drive into 4747 N. Main Street complex and see that they will not let you on the compound without taking your temperature first! As of 9am 7 October 2021 this is still the case!

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