Many Florida schools and the state’s largest grocery store chain will continue to require masks for the time being, despite Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive action this week to suspend local COVID-19 emergency orders, according to multiple reports.
DeSantis’ executive order does not block businesses within the state from requiring mask or social distancing. During a press conference earlier in the week, the governor noted that establishments such as supermarkets or Disney theme parks could still implement mask mandates on-site.
Grocery giant Publix told FOX 13 that it will still require customers to wear masks while shopping at its stores. The chain has mandated masks on-site throughout the pandemic.
Shortly after DeSantis’ announcement, Florida’s Department of Education said in a statement that the suspension of local orders “only impacts city and county governments, and does NOT impact school districts and individual schools,” the Tampa Bay Times reported.
As a result, local school officials and districts will determine if and when to lift their mask mandates. Most school districts are expected to keep their mandates in place through the end of the current school year, according to FOX 13.
DeSantis approved a bill this week that grants the governor sweeping authority to invalidate local emergency orders. The legislation limits emergency orders to seven-day intervals and blocks local governments from closing businesses or in-person learning at schools.
The legislation also bars the implementation of so-called “vaccine passports.”
The bill does not take effect until July 1. DeSantis took executive action to immediately lift local emergency orders until the law is fully implemented.