TAMPA, Florida – Despite the sweeping executive order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday, the masks will remain in place in many public spaces around Florida, including schools and at least one major grocery chain.
On Tuesday morning, Publix told FOX 13 it would not change its COVID-19 security policy. Customers will still be required to mask themselves when shopping at Publix, at least for now.
School districts will likely continue to require masks until the end of the school year.
Hillsborough County Superintendent Addison Davis said on Tuesday morning that masks would continue to be required in Hillsborough schools, reports Aaron Mesmer of FOX 13.
According to Manatee County Schools, Florida Public Schools Chancellor Jacob Oliva sent a note explaining that the governor’s orders issued yesterday will not apply to the current school year.
Many districts had previously announced that they would be removing mask requirements in the fall anyway.
Lynn Grady, president of the Hillsborough County School District, said she wanted the governor’s office to issue more clarifications for schools following the surprise announcement to clear up any confusion.
“Kids get confused, and parents get confused,” she said, “and that doesn’t really serve a good routine system.”
For now, at least, unless a district announces otherwise, masks must be worn at school.
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On Monday, DeSantis issued the executive order suspending all local emergency orders for COVID-19, but it only applied to local governments. He said during his St. Petersburg announcement that security procedures can still be decided by businesses.
Under a new law that takes effect July 1, all future emergency orders must be tightly matched in seven-day increments with a limit of 42 days or less. The governor also banned vaccine passports, adding that it was time to ease the year-long restrictions.
“My message is that vaccines protect you, get vaccinated and live your life as if you were protected,” he said on Monday.
However, not everyone agreed with some of the changes.
“We’re not even at 50% immunization in Pinellas County let alone the rest of the state,” said Rick Kriseman, mayor of St. Pete. “If so, then why doesn’t the CDC say more masks? I trust the CDC before Governor Desantis.”
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor echoed Kriseman. “The best decisions are made by local authorities, who are closest to the unique health and well-being needs of our communities. We will continue to follow CDC guidelines – and encourage all of our residents to get vaccinated – so we can return safely. to a sense of normalcy. ”
The order does not only apply to mask mandates. Many restaurants and bars also operate under other restrictions. In Tampa, for example, customers were not allowed to congregate inside a bar or go to the bar to order a drink. Customers were supposed to stay seated.
Now it’s up to individual bars and restaurants to decide if they want to keep these rules in place.