Photo courtesy Orange County, FL Government/Facebook
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said this week that he is exploring options on levying fines on local businesses that repeatedly flout CDC guidelines and the county's own mask mandate.
But with Gov. Ron DeSantis stating flatly this week
that he is "opposed to mandates, period" and that "fining people … is totally overboard," Demings' options may be narrow.
During the Orange County Coronavirus Update
on Monday, Demings said that he would likely make a decision on "enacting penalties on businesses who are found to be in violation" by the end of the week.
"I have directed the county attorney to draft an executive order that will likely give me the authority to institute some form of penalties," said Demings. "This would apply to business that are habitual violators of the guidance that has been put in place at this time."
It's going to be an uphill battle if Demings decides to go ahead with penalties. Governor DeSantis has had an executive order in place since September that bars local leaders and elected officials from issuing more restrictive rules or policies (lockdowns, etc.) than that of the state of Florida … and per DeSantis, Florida is open for business at all costs.
With repeat offenders (local nightclub Gilt even made it to TMZ
with footage from a packed-out City Girls show on Thanksgiving) seemingly digging in their heels and even getting a little salty towards
the county's coronavirus "strike" compliance teams, city officials are in need of some regulatory teeth.
As to the size of the fines being considered, Demings tells ClickOrlando in a recent interview
that these fines would be "hefty."
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