Ahead of Republican National Convention, conservatives challenge Jacksonville’s mask ordinance
Anthony Sabatini gets a courtroom smackdown.

St. Augustine and Leon, Hillsborough, and Orange Counties face similar challenges.

Monday saw Jacksonville become the latest in the series of cities facing a legal challenge to a mask requirement imposed in the face of the spreading pandemic.

The city joins other jurisdictions, including St. Augustine, and Leon, Hillsborough, and Orange Counties, each of which has issued orders of a similar type.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, a Republican, stands by his office’s position. His chief of staff called the lawsuit “irresponsible” in a statement ahead of the press conference.

Yet for Republicans to the right of Curry, who will host the Republican National Convention to Jacksonville, the move represents the latest in a series of apostasies for the second-term Mayor.

Rep. Anthony Sabatini, filing these suits around the state, noted that a fine and jail time could result for a violator of the “ridiculous” and “unlawful, unconstitutional” mayoral “proclamation” in a tweet ahead of the Monday press conference.

The proclamation is a “vague and strangely written order” that could result in 60 days of jail time or a $500 fine, he noted.

In comments Monday at the Duval County Courthouse, flanked by roughly a hundred like-minded anti-maskers, the lawyer outlined “demands” to the city of Jacksonville.

“Scrap or amend this proclamation,” Sabatini said.

He asked Curry to amend the order and “just go back to recommendation.”

“It’s an absolutely terrible policy,” Sabatini said. “It’s outside their actual legal powers here as a municipality,” Sabatini said.

“If the majority of citizens believed that government should be in the business of mandating masks,” he added, “government wouldn’t need to be in the business of doing it.”

Sabatini invoked a “silent majority” of people who oppose mask ordinances, before going on to impugn Jordan Elsbury, the Mayor’s chief of staff, as being overpaid.

“This is a guy who makes $190,000 a year,” he said, while “the majority of the people in this city are on welfare and unemployment.”

Meanwhile, though a majority of people in Jacksonville haven’t yet tested positive for COVID-19, the surge of positive tests continued on Monday’s report from the Department of Health.

In Duval County, 338 more cases of COVID-19 were verified through July 5, with Sunday’s positive test percentage at 14%, continuing a trend of double digit outcomes in a grim metric.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • S.B. Anthony

    July 6, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    If these people are so okay with dying, why don’t they just take themselves and their families out, and
    leave the rest of us alone to keep living? Seems a lot more practical than useless time-wasting lawsuits.


    July 6, 2020 at 12:43 pm

    The current crop of so-called “Republicans” needs to be eliminated completely – totally squashed in the upcoming election – never to rise again! They’ve bastardized EVERYTHING I always believed was the philosophical and principled essence of the Republican party – and now they’ve finally equated the term “conservatives” with the term “assholes”!

    Screw them and the dimwitted dope they rode in on!

  • Sonja Fitch

    July 6, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    The goptrump cult sociopath racist sexist liars are completely brainwashed! Cancel the RNC! Our children will be trying to transition back into school!
    Cancel the RNC! Putin loving traitor trump is not welcome in Jacksonville a damn proud military community!

  • Frankie M.

    July 6, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    Sabatini makes some good points even if he does look like a blind Blues Brother.
    I like how he went after Elsbury instead of Curry since Elsbury is the face of this order. $190K a year is alot of money for a low level functionary whose only job consists of taking one fer the team when the boss has gone deep sea fishing & bringing conventions to town no other city will touch with a ten foot fishing pole. Those tasks all sound related btw. Seriously Jax won’t even build a convention center to get a bunch of dentists to come here but we got the RNC comin next month? Is REO speedwagon booked up or what?? Let’s pull out all the stops!
    As far as mask orders in Jax has anyone actually been fined? This “order/proclamation” whatever you want to call it is about as toothless as the HRO. People aren’t happy unless they’re bitchin about something. They love to get worked up over small shit.

  • TheGipper

    July 6, 2020 at 8:52 pm

    Here this is the link below for the official trailer detailing the origin of mandatory mask wearing, social distancing, et al.

    ‘We The People’ prefer the state media report on the 99% that don’t die in FL and those who are asymptomatic.


Comments are closed.


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