What you need to know about the governor’s lifting of local COVID-19 restrictions & how it impacts you

Posted at 6:17 PM, May 04, 2021

Many of you have questions about the governor’s executive order ending all COVID-19 mandates and restrictions. And there seems to be some confusion on what it all means when it comes to wearing face masks.

ABC Action News goes in-depth to get you answers on how it will impact you and your family.

Starting July 1, all local COVID-19 executive orders and related pandemic restrictions are invalid.

“To bridge the gap between then and now, I’m going to suspend under my executive power, the local emergency orders as it relates to COVID. I think that’s the evidence-based thing to do,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The measure applies to government action.

It ensures neither the state nor local governments can close businesses or keep students out of in-person instruction unless they satisfy demanding justifications. It also bans vaccine passports.

“You have a right to participate in society, go to a restaurant movie all these things without having to divulge this type of information,” said DeSantis.

Private businesses like supermarkets and theme parks, can still legally require masks and enforce social distancing.

The bill also does not apply to school districts. Polk County Schools informed parents it will continue to require that students, staff, and visitors wear masks on campuses.

Parents in Pinellas County are being told to ask the school board directly about mask requirements.

DeSantis said asking vaccinated people to continue to wear masks would undermine confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines.

“I would respectfully disagree with the governor and say that everything that I see in terms of the science says that we should maintain these restrictions for another six weeks before lifting them, before we’re really in the free and clear. And this is a really dangerous step for the state of Florida,” said Dr. Thomas Unnasch, USF College of Public Health Professor.

Unnasch said it is everyone’s individual responsibility to continue COVID-19 restrictions.

“The mask is the key thing. If you are not vaccinated and want to protect yourself, wearing a very good mask that protects you is the best way of keeping yourself safe,” said Dr. Unnasch.