TALLAHASSEE, Fla .– Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suspended local COVID-19 emergency orders on Monday and signed a proposal approved by lawmakers last week that limits the government’s ability to impose demands on mask and other social distancing measures used to fight the coronavirus last year.
The measure, the 2006 Senate Bill, also makes DeSantis’ executive order that bans “vaccine passports”, saying there is no need “to monitor people at this stage.”
“I think if you say you really say you don’t believe in vaccines, that you don’t believe in data, you don’t believe in science,” DeSantis said at a bill signing ceremony in St. Petersburg. .
The legislation also makes it more difficult for local governments to order measures such as wearing masks or imposing limits on businesses by requiring emergency orders to be tightly matched and in increments of seven days no longer than 42. days.
DeSantis’ executive order to revoke local restrictions on viruses does not apply to mask warrants or social distancing issued by companies, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
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As the measure passed through committees, opponents warned that the restrictions would lead to prosecution and could have other unintended consequences, such as tourists avoiding the state due to health concerns.
They also questioned whether the measure would provoke a challenge to the First Amendment because it denies private businesses and schools the right not to associate with unvaccinated consumers.
But DeSantis said the restrictions included in the bill are science-based and provide a roadmap for dealing with future health emergencies.
“I think it creates a structure that will be a little more respectful of businesses, jobs, schools and people’s personal freedoms.”
Follow reporter James Call on Twitter: @AppelTallahassee
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