As of May 3, 2021, Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted any and all mask and face covering ordinances still in effect.
That came months after the Governor put an order in place blocking enforcement of masks. Businesses such as theme parks can still request face coverings be used or require masks to gain entry. But in the state of Florida, no government requires the use of masks, and a new law in place July 1 severely limits the ability of governments to take further action in future emergencies. T
he potential still exists for legal challenges to the law or the Governor’s action.
In the past, President Joe Biden hinted at a national mandate for masks when he took office on Jan. 20, but ultimately just encouraged use of masks as a patriotic duty. A significant number of Florida jurisdictions at various points since March 1, 2020, when the coronavirus first surfaced in the state, required masks in public and at designated businesses.
Even after DeSantis moved Florida to Phase Three of a state reopening, which he originally said would preempt any fines and punishments attached to local rules, many mask ordinances were implemented and stood up to court challenges. Many jurisdictions continue to have fine ordinances on the books even though the penalties are not being levied and cannot be collected.
Here’s Florida Politics’ roundup of regulations in the Sunshine State. Most orders last through the duration of the state of emergency, which DeSantis lifted on May 3. At this point, this list exists in posterity and reflects the state of mask regulations up until DeSantis ended Florida’s state of emergency.
While a mask requirement has been on the books for some time, county officials announced it would enforce it with fines beginning on June 25, reports WCJB. Code enforcement plans to go to businesses with high levels of complaints and offer a warning and free mask, but then individuals who refuse to comply will be fined $125 on a first offense, $250 on a second, and $500 and a court appearance on the third offense. The most recent order also includes requirements on signage in businesses where masks are mandatory.
Since government offices reopened to the public on May 18, reservations were required, and the use of face masks encouraged, Florida Today reports.
The county issued an emergency order April 10 saying individuals must wear face coverings when visiting essential businesses, in cases where those businesses involve direct interaction between workers and the public, NBC 6 South Florida reports. The ordinance makes clear that while patrons are in businesses doing activities such as playing billiards, they may not be eating or drinking at the time as a way to avoid wearing a face covering.
County Commissioners on July 28 voted to direct all residents to wear masks in public places throughout the unincorporated county where social distancing is not possible, Fox 4 reports. The resolution came weeks after the county shot down a prior mask mandate.
Weeks after declining to put a mask ordinance in place, County Commissioners on July 21 approved a mask ordinance effective through Sept. 3, ABC-7 reports. County commissioners extended the mandate through April 13, now including the requiring in businesses where social distancing is not possible, the Naples Daily News reports. But after that the mandate was allowed to expire.
Officials issued a mask order beginning at 5 p.m. on June 29. Mayor Lenny Curry extended the ordinance for nine months but ultimately let it expire on Marc. 26, The Florida Times-Union reports. The requirement applied to public and indoor spaces, reports News4Jax. Duval County officials made clear the order applied throughout, including in the beachfront municipalities. The local order also just withstood a court challenge, one of many repeatedly brought forward by Rep. Anthony Sabatini in his capacity as an attorney.
County Commissioners put in place an order in May for everyone there to wear face masks while in public. That was briefly rescinded on May 15, WTXL reports but was reinstated again May 22. The challenge has now survived a court challenge, in which a judge said the order was constitutional and that suits continued to be filed by Sabatini are bordering on “frivolous.”
An executive order, approved on June 22 by the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group, requires facial coverings for employees and patrons at all businesses dealing with the public and where social distancing cannot be maintained. The order was extended but also significantly changed on July 6, shifting penalties for noncompliance away from business license holders and onto individual members of the public, reports Fox 13. The order has since been extended and is ongoing. A day after DeSantis orders all local mandates null, Hillsborough County Commissioners formally rescinded a local ordinance,
Indian River County
County Commissioners on July 14 ended a requirement for masks for workers and rejected a requirement for the public, TC Palm reports. An emergency order previously went into effect on June 26, requiring employees at businesses open to the public to wear masks. The requirement also applied to anyone visiting county facilities where social distancing is not possible, including libraries, or anyone using public transit. But a requirement remains in place for masks in public buildings, public transit and on employees of businesses serving the public, and that was just extended until Nov. 22, TC Palm reports. Schools still have a mask requirement, but the schools are considering changing the rule.
County Commissioners voted unanimously to put a mask requirement in place beginning June 25, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. Chairman Bryan Desloge said he would review the order and local COVID-19 cases weekly to determine when to lift the local order. Officials said after DeSantis lifted all orders, its local ordinance was no longer in effect.
Manatee County commissioners on Sept. 29 voted to end a mask mandate, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports. After initially voting a mask requirement down, County Commissioners on July 27 approved an ordinance to require face coverings worn inside private businesses, the Bradenton Herald reports. The countywide rule does not apply to children under age 6 or with certain medical conditions.
County Commissioners has repealed its most recent mask mandate and now recommends businesses require masks. The Commission originally approved a requirement June 19 for employees at businesses open to the public, including groceries, restaurants and retail establishments, to wear face coverings. The order expired on Aug. 10, CBS 12 News reports, and commissioners instead backed strong recommendations to wear masks in public. But on Aug. 25, commissioners instituted a new mandate, WPTV West Palm Beach reports. Now Palm Beach officials say DeSantis’ order has usurped the mandate.
Mayor Carlos Giménez announced an expanded mask order on July 1 to apply to all public indoor and outdoor spaces throughout the county. Still the epicenter for COVID-19 cases in Florida, this extends an emergency order already requiring employees and visitors to wear face coverings at grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies, construction sites, on public transit, in vehicles for hire, and at any business where social distancing is impossible. The local order discourages the use of N95 masks because they are still in critical supply there. The requirement does not apply to children age two and younger or those with chronic preexisting breathing problems.
The Florida Keys now have a face mask rule with a $500 civil fine attached. County Commissioners voted May 17 to mandate masks at all businesses for employees and customers, the Orlando Sentinel reported. A requirement has been in place for employees since June 1. Cities may opt-out of the ordinance. County officials following DeSantis’ order rescinding all mandates said its local measure will no longer be enforced.
A mask mandate in the county ends Sept.24 at noon, reports Action News Jax. County Commissioners voted to institute a mask mandate for all indoor public places. The requirement went into effect July 3. The rule applied for those over age 6 in areas where social distancing was not possible. The order was extended until Sept.25, but commissioners considering another extension decided to sunset the requirement instead.
Mayor Jerry Demings signed an executive order requiring all people in public places to wear masks beginning June 20. If people are in restaurants and eating or drinking, they can take their masks off. But employees and people socializing should wear them, Demings said. People jogging or otherwise exercising away from other people also would be excluded. He encouraged businesses to prohibit entry to patrons who do not have masks.
Sheriff Russ Gibson announced that as of April 13, anyone venturing outside in the jurisdiction must wear face coverings, News 6 reports. But on Oct. 5, the county commission dropped fines and punishments, and exempted those participating in sports. From the start, the rule doesn’t apply to those aged 2 and under, those with certain preexisting health conditions, anyone exercising or those in jobs where face-to-face interactions are not required.
Palm Beach County
County Commissioners voted unanimously to mandate masks in public, The Palm Beach Post reports. Even in Phase Three, commissioners say the requirement remains in place, as do fines. Requirements will mimic those in Miami-Dade County. The requirement is in place for ride-shares and at any business currently allowed to operate in the county. A judge upheld the legality of the mask in court on July 27, NBC 6 South Florida reports. The order has been extended until Dec. 21.
An order has been issued requiring masks worn while indoors at public businesses and government facilities, reports Bay News 9. The Commission has discussed potentially lifting the rule but on Sept. 21 declined to vote on any change in policy based on increasing cases in the region. Commissioner Jack Mariano on Oct. 20 again raised the issue of changing to a recommendation but a motion died without a second, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
County Commissioners approved an ordinance requiring masks or face shields in public spaces. Minors under the age of 18 will be required to wear a face mask at the discretion of their parents. The ordinance took effect on June 24. The Pinellas schools have also resisted calls to drop mask requirements on students. Pinellas officials formally rescinded its order after DeSantis’ latest action.
The School Board is requiring masks in all county schools through at least November, and is considering extending that through the school year, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.
St. Johns County
County officials on July 27 ordered masks worn inside county facilities, except for children under age 2. The order doesn’t apply in places where social distancing is possible.
St. Lucie County
County Commissioners on July 1 put a requirement for face coverings for employees of restaurants, grocery stores, food service, salons, gyms, and other retail establishments and businesses open to the public, reports TC Palm. Fines range from $25 for a first offense to $150 for a third. On July 13, commissioners expanded the ordinance to cover the general public as well in all indoor public settings and outdoor places where social distancing is impossible, WPTV reports. But in April, the ordinance was repealed as officials continued to encourage use of face coverings.
A county order went into effect July 1 requires those living, working, and visiting the county to wear a face-covering at all businesses, places of assembly, and places open to the public, WESH 2 reports.
The county administrator’s office announced that at several county-owned indoor offices and facilities, both employees and visitors are required to wear masks, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.
Mayor Dan Murphy ordered face coverings indoors except in private homes. The rule went into effect on June 27. It doesn’t apply to those at businesses where they don’t encounter other people. Masks must be worn in restaurants except when eating or drinking. Violations as of July 10 are subject to a $50 fine. The requirement is being revisited weekly by city officials and was most recently extended for seven days as of Dec. 2. The city also has authorized businesses to report violators for trespassing if they refuse to wear masks.
Beginning July 2, masks must be worn inside buildings and establishments within city limits, WTXL reports. The order exempts religious services and seated eating; it doesn’t apply to employees working in enclosed areas away from others.
The village on July 22 issued an order requiring masks worn when in public. It does not apply in churches, hotel rooms, or cars, and it exempts children under the age of 2 and those with certain medical conditions. The order was most recently extended on Oct. 13.
The Bradenton City Council voted unanimously for an emergency mask ordinance, reports WFLA. The requirement goes into effect on July 17.
The South Florida city issued a face mask order on April 9, encouraging face coverings for all visitors, residents and workers in the city. N95 masks are discouraged.
Employees at grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants and those providing delivery services must wear masks in the city limits, according to an order issued on April 4. The public is also urged to wear masks, but not required.
As of April 10, a face-covering requirement is in place for individuals in public. Residents are strongly encouraged to use face masks in outdoor settings like public parks as well.
City leaders ordered face masks in public and while in employee areas of businesses.
An emergency order issued June 26 mandates face coverings indoors and outdoors in Miami-Dade in all facilities and businesses that have been authorized to reopen. Exceptions apply for some professions where workers are primarily outdoors or who cannot work with masks, individuals communicating with the hearing impaired, and those under the age of 2.
Face-coverings are required for all employees and customers at grocery stores, hardware stores, pharmacies and restaurants. Those at all other open and essential businesses are encouraged to use face masks in public.
The city still has requirements for face coverings and social distancing in place, the Miami Herald reports.
An emergency measure approved June 18 requires all individuals over the age of 2 who enter City Hall and other city buildings to wear face coverings. The program doesn’t apply to children involved in youth programs, where social distancing in enforced.
The city has a face mask covering requirements in place in addition to an ongoing stay-at-home order.
The city approved an ordinance in effect as of July 3 requiring face coverings for all individuals while inside businesses. The rule carries a $25 fine on first offense that goes up to $100 on the third offense, with injunctions possible for continued offenders.
Mayor J.C. Bermudez put a face mask requirement in place as of April 10.
The North Florida municipality, as of July 15, requires all citizens older than age 2 to wear a face-covering in any public indoor spaces. The city previously issued a resolution on July 2 requiring face masks for employees and patrons of businesses open to the public, allowing violation of the rule to be punished as a second-degree misdemeanor. The requirement has been extended to Jan. 6.
The municipality on July 9 passed a resolution requiring anyone outside their home to wear a mask except when engaged in strenuous exercise, according to News 6. Infractions do not carry any fine. The day after DeSantis issued his most recent order, Flagler Beach dropped its requirement entirely.
The city never put a local lockdown in place, but an emergency order on April 9 was issued requiring face masks in public.
The South Florida city-issued emergency orders April 10, requiring all those within the interior areas of businesses and services to wear some form of face-covering shielding their nose and mouth. All others working or visiting in Fort Lauderdale are encouraged to use masks at all times.
Fort Myers Beach
The city issued an emergency declaration that went into effect on July 1, WINK News reports. Masks are required at indoor businesses, but not at parks and outdoor locales. Children under 6 and law enforcement are exempt. Those in violation can be fined $50.
The city issued its own face mask order on April 10.
The city issued a declaration on June 27 that customers and staff at businesses must wear masks, the Pensacola News Journal reports.
City leaders committed to participating in a face mask requirement policy similar to Miami, the Miami Herald reports.
Mayor Yioset De La Cruz issued a face mask order on April 8 for all businesses open in the city, and all workers making deliveries there. Workers at retailers and commercial establishments must wear gloves if available.
The city issued a facial covering order on April 8 in public places, including grocery stores, hardware stores, pharmacies, restaurants, or other essential businesses. The order may be enforced with arrests or fines. On June 25, the city expanded the order to include common areas of all buildings.
The Manatee County municipality adopted an emergency ordinance requiring masks in businesses, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. The requirement has been extended until at least June 12, The Islander reports.
Indian Harbour Beach
An emergency order on July 15 requires masks inside businesses and requires companies to post notices on the requirement, News 6 reports
A mask mandate in town expired at the end of September, and officials have since approved a resolution encouraging the use of face coverings in businesses. The town issued an executive order requiring face masks for all employees and visitors to town-owned indoor facilities. All businesses in town that are open to customers are also required to post a sign making clear their face mask policies. Any businesses deemed essential must require masks for visitors and employees. Requirements don’t apply to those under age 6.
Officials issued a mask order beginning at 5 p.m. on June 29. Mayor Lenny Curry extended the ordinance for nine months but ultimately let it expire on Marc. 26, The Florida Times-Union reports. The requirement applief to public and indoor spaces, reports News4Jax. Duval County officials made clear the order applied throughout, including in the beachfront municipalities. The local order also just withstood a court challenge, one of many repeatedly brought forward by Rep. Anthony Sabatini in his capacity as an attorney.
The South Florida city now requires face coverings in all essential businesses. An order was expanded on June 26 to cover anytime individuals leave their own homes.
City commissioners on Nov. 19 approved a stricter mask requirement that says everyone over age 6 must wear a mask in public and carry one with them at all times, FLKeysNews reports. But the Miami Herald reports that since DeSantis’ recent order stopping fines, the local ordinance is no longer enforced. Commissioners had previously loosened requirements on wearing masks outdoors and in gyms, and stopped requiring face coverings if social distancing can be maintained, the Herald reported, but a spike in cases changed minds and the strict new rule was approved unanimously. The city on July 13 had previously expanded an order to require everyone over age 6 to wear masks any time they are outside of their own home. Anyone in businesses essential or nonessential must wear face coverings in the city, per a local emergency order. Businesses opening on or after May 4, 2020 must follow sanitation guidelines and train employees on CDC recommendations for working during the pandemic. But a year later on May 4, 2021, the city ordinance was allowed to expire.
The Lake County city approved an ordinance July 27 requiring masks to be worn in any public place, the Daily Commercial reports. The rule does not apply outdoors or for children under the age of 2.
A mask ordinance in Lakeland expired on Oct. 5, with city leaders saying there was no need to extend it following DeSantis prohibiting enforcement through fines, The Ledger reports. City commissioners previously voted to institute a mask mandate in certain indoor places where social distancing cannot be maintained, ABC Action News reports. Anyone under 8 is exempt, as are any youth engaged in sports. The city can fine $250 for those in violation.
Commissioners approved an ordinance that takes place July 31, the Northwest Florida Daily News. It applies inside business establishments and includes fines.
The town requires face coverings for all individuals outside their homes, excluding children age two and younger, those who have trouble breathing, individuals engaged in strenuous exercise, and certain government workers prohibited from wearing masks.
City Manager Shannon Lewis on July 13, announced all city employees must wear provided surgical masks or their face coverings on the job for the duration of the statewide state of emergency for COVID-19.
An emergency order issued on July 15 requires masks in all essential businesses. It doesn’t apply to those under age 6 or in settings where social distancing can take place. Another order requiring masks in indoor town facilities was issued the same day.
Mayor Francis Suarez on June 22 announced a new “mask in public” rule within the city, according to the Miami Herald. He made clear that while enforcement will be a challenge, it will be a requirement officials expect to be followed. On June 25, an order was issued that laid out exceptions and made clear it applied in all public settings.
The city has a nose and face-covering rule in place in restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations.
An order issued June 26 effective immediately requires masks at all open establishments, centers, and meeting places within the city, including in parking lots.
Face covering requirements are in place.
New Smyrna Beach
City Commissioners voted 3-2 to start requiring residents and visitors to wear masks in public, News 6 reports. But no enforcement mechanism was put into place there.
The city, as of April 9, required employees and customers to wear face coverings at grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores and restaurants. The use of masks is strongly encouraged at other businesses as well.
Since April 7, the city has kept a face-covering requirement in place.
The City Council passed an ordinance requiring businesses, churches, and government offices to enforce a mask mandate for workers and to post signs encouraging mask use by the public, WMFE 90.7 reports. The ordinance is set to expire Oct.24 absent an extension.
The city on July 6 instituted a mask requirement with a $25 fine on first offense that raises to $100 by third offense, reports WFTV.
Mayor Terrill Hill implemented a mask-wearing requirement in the city, according to First Coast News.
The City Council on July 7 approved a resolution requiring masks in any indoor location outside their home and any outdoor public gathering space. But the city tossed its requirement the day DeSantis ordered an end to local regulations.
An emergency order issued April 9 mandates face coverings at all times inside restaurants, grocery stores and pharmacies. Workers doing any type of delivery service must also wear masks while making deliveries.
Panama City Beach
The city on July 15 required all employees at public businesses to wear face masks, reports MyPanhandle.com.
Mayor Grover Robinson issued an emergency order, in effect as of 5 p.m. June 26, requiring face coverings for anyone inside a business within city limits, the Pensacola News-Journal reports. Since then, the ordinance has been extended through April 22, though it’s now not enforceable. The order excludes those under age 6, anyone exercising, and all places of worship. The City Council later added the threat of $50 fines for first offenses, ultimately going up to $500 and 60 days in jail.
The City Council approved a mask requirement in public places, but on July 17 passed exemptions for locations, including churches and schools, WFSU reports.
Mayor Lynne Stoner, on April 8, signed a requirement for cloth masks anytime any individual living, working, or visiting the city is in a public place. The use of medical-grade surgical masks is discouraged.
Mayor Rex Hardin issued an emergency proclamation on April 8, encouraging people to wear cloth masks or face coverings whenever outside of their own homes.
The City Council on July 8 passed a mask mandate for all indoor places, NBC-2 reports. Some standard exemptions for children under 2 and others apply.
City commissioners rescinded a face mask requirement after Florida entered Phase Three reopening, but still encourages mask use, News4Jax reports. The Commission adopted a requirement for face coverings at indoor locations besides their homes and when unable to maintain social distance. The requirement went into effect at noon on June 26, The Florida Times-Union reports. Those violating the rule may be fined up to $500.
Mayor Rick Kriseman announced a city mandate that employees wear face masks in all businesses in the city beginning June 19. Violations could result in sanctions. He soon after signed an order on June 22, expanding the mask requirement to visiting public places of assembly within the city, The Catalyst reports. As far as businesses, patrons who notice employees not wearing masks are asked to email the city at [email protected]. Complaints will be forwarded to the appropriate departments for enforcement.
Beginning July 3, Sanibel will require masks at any public building, government facility, library, and restaurant (only before sitting down to eat), reports NBC-2. The requirement doesn’t apply at the beach, golf course, or outdoor settings when social distancing is possible, and it does not apply to places of worship. The city has since raised the age limit of those exempt from wearing a mask to 6 years old.
A mandate was off and on in Sarasota. After one mandate expired in the city, city commissioners in April voted to reinstate it. Officials still have a proclamation in place encouraging masks inside at public spaces. Efforts to reinstate a mask ordinance have failed. Previously, City Commissioners on June 29, 2020, put in place a mask mandate whenever individuals are indoors, as well as when outdoors when social distancing is not possible, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports. Businesses and owners at one point faced a fine of $500 if found in violation.
The municipality allowed a mandate to sunset on Oct. 7 and has since approved a resolution encourage mask use. The City Council on July expanded an emergency ordinance to now require face coverings at all indoor public locations throughout the city, and at outdoor and business locations where social distancing is not possible. Exceptions are provided, including for children under age 2. Previously, the city on July 6 approved an ordinance requiring customers at grocery stores and gas stations to wear masks, Florida Today reports. The municipality earlier issued guidelines including requirements for staff wearing face masks and gloves, and other issues related to reopening as of May 4.
Effective April 10, the town required facial coverings for employees at essential businesses, as well as for contractors, tradespeople, appliance repair personnel, exterminators, and other workers serving the public.
The city issued an emergency order on April 8, asking all residents and visitors to use face cloth coverings while utilizing essential services, especially in areas with high numbers of customers like grocery stores, hardware stores and pharmacies.
Mayor Jane Castor announced a mandatory mask order, reports the Tampa Bay Times. The order took effect on June 19. It applies to all indoor locations outside individuals’ homes, and anywhere individuals in public cannot maintain six-foot social distancing. Children under 2 are exempt. The city will provide free masks to anyone who needs them, while supplies last.
The city on July 16 adopted an ordinance requiring individuals in essential businesses to wear masks, and to enforce masks in any business noticing customers of a policy requiring masks. Children under 6 and those with certain medical conditions are exempt. Fines start at $100. The order continues to be extended, most recently including a one-week extension on Dec. 7.
City Manager Leigh Ann Henderson signed an order requiring all employees and customers of grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores, and restaurants to wear face coverings.
A mask mandate will expire on Oct. 15 at 11:59 p.m. after the city declined to extend the measure, The Ledger reports. City Commissioners on July 13 approved a mask ordinance requiring face coverings in any indoor environment besides their home. The measure was extended once. Violations can result in $150 fines, but DeSantis has said cities can no longer levy penalties. Officials will still encourage the use of masks.
The Venice City Council opted to let its mask mandate expire at the end of October, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports. The city on Aug. 25 originally approved an ordinance requiring masks to be worn in all public spaces where social distancing cannot be enforced, and extended it multiple times. The mask rule included exemptions for those with medical conditions preventing mask use, and police say the rule will not likely be enforced in outdoor settings.
The following jurisdictions voted down mandates: Indian River County, Okaloosa County, Walton County, Okaloosa County Schools, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Green Cove Springs, Naples, Pierson.
Sheriff Billy Woods took the extraordinary step of banning the use of masks by all Sheriff’s Department employees, according to the Ocala StarBanner. Some exceptions will exist for those working in the county jail, courts or schools. Visitors to lobbies for Sheriff’s Office facilities will also be told to remove their masks.