After the governor’s Executive Order on May 3 suspended all local COVID-19 mandates on businesses and individuals, Alachua County’s emergency orders immediately became unenforceable. The County said as much at their May 4 meeting:
County Attorney Sylvia Torres briefly reviewed the governor’s order and said the county’s emergency order was “immediately suspended.” She added that the local state of emergency can continue for FEMA reimbursement purposes.
Cornell said he agreed with continuing the state of emergency for funding purposes. “But with regards to the mandatory masking, the signage at the businesses, enforcement of those types of things, I think those have been suspended indefinitely.” Torres added that the gathering restriction is also suspended.
Cornell then signed the 59th extension of Alachua County’s Emergency Order on May 10, which deleted all COVID-19 restrictions and mandates that were present in the previous version of the order. Cornell also stated in yesterday’s Alachua County Commission meeting, “I extended the emergency order yesterday basically for FEMA purposes. I talked to the attorney, and unless the board desires us to continue that, we will probably let this expire and not renew it next week unless there is a financial reason to do so, since the governor has suspended our previous emergency orders.”
The County has not made public announcements about the changes, but it is clear that businesses no longer have to post signs about wearing masks or make their employees wear masks. Penalties on individuals had already been suspended since the governor’s September 26 order.
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