Today, May 4, 2021, Governor Ron DeSantis issued two Executive Orders (EO), Executive Order 21-101 and Executive Order 21-102, which suspend and then permanently invalidate all local emergency orders across Florida that were implemented in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. While recognizing that our efforts against COVID-19 continue with additional vaccinations and getting our state back to work, the Governor stated in his news conference that we are no longer in a state of emergency that justifies the local restrictions.
FRLA General Counsel Samantha Padgett has provided some greater understanding and clarification as we get questions about these actions today. Here is what the EOs mean: Effective immediately, all local government emergency orders related to COVID-19 are hereby suspended. This specifically refers to all those local emergency orders that address restrictions and limitations on individuals and businesses related to COVID-19. Any duly enacted ordinances that apply to general health, safety, and welfare would still be valid. (For example, the ordinances in Miami Beach establishing curfews to eliminate crowding and violence would still be valid.) Please keep in mind that this order DOES NOT eliminate the ability of a business to require masks or maintain certain safety and sanitation protocols within their own business. It’s simply suspends the local government’s ability to require any of these things.