HELP US KEEP REPORTING. DONATE TO ORLANDO WEEKLY PRESS CLUB.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Florida business groups question Gov. DeSantis' refusal to issue statewide masks requirement

Posted By on Sat, Jun 27, 2020 at 9:07 AM

click to enlarge SCREENSHOT VIA @THEWESTIPHER/TWITTER
  • Screenshot via @TheWestipher/Twitter

Business groups say a "patchwork" of local face-mask ordinances across Florida is creating confusion for store owners and customers.

Several cities and counties from the Panhandle to South Florida have approved requirements for face coverings to be worn in public settings. But other local governments have stayed out of the issue, and Gov. Ron DeSantis has refused to issue a statewide mandate.

The issue also has sparked fierce debates, with some people taking the advice of public health officials who say face coverings can reduce the spread of COVID-19, while others see mask requirements as a government intrusion into personal liberties.

Florida Retail Federation CEO Scott Shalley said some ordinances could lead to businesses being fined if customers refuse to wear masks. He said it is unfair to make store employees police the mask mandates, which vary among communities.

“The mask issue, in and of itself, has shown itself to be very volatile,” Shalley said. “There is definitely, for some people, a political component to it. We really don’t think our sales associates, who are on the front lines providing services to Floridians, should be the ones to be in the middle of that battleground.”

The National Federation of Independent Business also expressed concerns about businesses being held liable if customers don’t comply with mask requirements.

“This patchwork of local regulations has created confusion and underscored the challenges small businesses face as they struggle to recover from the shutdown,” Bill Herrle, NFIB’s state executive director in Florida, said in a prepared statement. “Under many of these ordinances, owners could be held criminally liable if customers don't follow the rules and wear a mask. We believe draconian rules that arbitrarily punish small business owners are unfair, especially when the owners are doing everything they can to protect their customers and employees and prevent the virus from spreading.”

On Friday, Florida reported nearly 9,000 new cases of COVID-19, a single-day record. The respiratory disease is linked to more than 3,300 deaths in the state.

_
Please follow CDC guidelines and Orange County advisories to stay safe, and please support this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you news on how coronavirus is affecting Central Florida. Please consider making a one-time or monthly donation. Every little bit helps.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

August 5, 2020

View more issues

Calendar

© 2020 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation