State releases emergency rules on mandatory masking in health care settings

Stop sign at entrance to store requiring face masks before entering
AHCA and DOH worked together on the emergency rules.

Doctors’ offices and hospitals can no longer require all visitors, patients or employees to wear masks under a pair of emergency rules published by the administration of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) released a pair of emergency rules (59ER23-01 and 59ER23-2) on July 3 laying out the dos and don’ts of when facial coverings can be required in health care settings and opt-out requirements that must be offered.

Licensed health care providers and practitioners who will require masks or facial coverings must develop policies consistent with the requirements in the emergency rules by Aug. 1. 

Patients can only be required to wear masks if they are in the common area of the health care setting and are exhibiting signs or symptoms, or have been diagnosed with an infectious disease that can be spread through droplet or airborne transmission.

Visitors can also be required to wear a mask if they are headed to a sterile area of a facility or if they are coming to see a patient who has been diagnosed with an infectious disease or has a condition affecting their underlying immune system.

Health care providers and practitioners who require masks must offer patients, visitors and employees an “opt-out.”

The opt-out provision differs depending on the situation.

The opt-out policy provisions for patients, for instance, must be in accordance with what’s known as the Florida Patient’s Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. That law, initially passed in 1991, states that apatient is responsible for following health care facility rules and regulations affecting patient care and conduct.

Health care providers who require visitors to don facial coverings must include in their policies an opt-out provision if an alternative method of infection control or infectious diseases prevention is available.

The opt-out provision for employees is broader and allows employees to opt out of wearing a mask unless they are conducting sterile procedures, working in a sterile area, working with a patient with a compromised immune system or working with a patient whose treating practitioner has determined the use of a mask is necessary for the patient’s safety because the patient is deemed at risk of transmission of an infection from asymptomatic employees.

The emergency rules were published by AHCA and developed in conjunction with the Florida Department of Health (DOH). The agencies were required to develop the rules as part of SB 252, which passed during the 2023 Session and was signed by DeSantis in May. 

SB 252, sponsored by Sen. Colleen Burton, prevented the sunset of many prohibitions the Legislature passed banning COVID-19 vaccination mandates and mask mandates in schools.

Hospitals and health care providers that run afoul of the new law are subject to disciplinary action from AHCA, which regulates health care facilities, or regulatory boards, such as the Board of Medicine or the Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


  • Tom

    July 5, 2023 at 12:49 pm

    Stupidest state in the country. Thanks Rhonda. So much winning.

    • EvelynChris

      July 5, 2023 at 2:10 pm

      I can use a computer to work from home and make $200 an hour. I never thought it was possible, yet my bs03 closest friend made $17,000 in just five weeks working on this historic project. I was convinced to take part.
      Detail Here————————————————>>>

  • Dont Say FLA

    July 5, 2023 at 1:07 pm

    LOL @ Busybody Rhonda and their never ending mask mandates while claiming Florida is mandate free. Again.

    Sad face for Floridians. Again.

  • Die LTMSIO Die

    July 5, 2023 at 1:11 pm

    Florida is where “Let The Market Sort It Out” goes to die

  • Suze

    July 5, 2023 at 2:02 pm

    DeathSantis continues to practice medicine without a license insisting on killing Floridians unnecessarily with his selfish uninformed and spreading of mis-information under his dictatorship. Shame shame on him and his ignorant Surgeon General.

    • Susan

      July 10, 2023 at 11:09 am

      Just curious….what is your medical background? I assume you must must be in the medical field since I’m sure you wouldn’t make such assertions without a medical background but always good to include so people know. Btw, I’m a RN. Thanks.

  • Earl Pitts American

    July 5, 2023 at 2:08 pm

    Good afternoon America,
    BOOM in your face Dook 4 Brains Biden voters…or as is the case NOT IN MY FACE.
    Listen up everybody:
    Normal people can pick you Biden voters out of a croud. You all have a certian creepyness about you. We dont need your virtue signaling mask to know your Dook 4 Brains Biden voting status.
    Just a quick example:
    The man with a “man bun” who did he vote for Einstein? BING BING BING BING correct “Bun Boy” voted for Biden and wants to do it again…see no mask needed to know!
    Need another?
    The “Subaru SUV Driver” who did he/she vote for? BING BING BING BING correct the Subaru SUV driver voted for Biden and wants to do it again…see again no mask required you know that you are looking at a certified Dook 4 Brains leftist Biden voter.
    See how easy it is America?
    Still not convinced? Lets stay in the automotive world – “The Volvo Driver” and this applies to any make, model, or year of Volvo: who did the Volvo driver vote for? BING BING BING BING correct again Biden. Hey you’re getting really good at this!!! Now I could go on with this all day and have used great restraint to not even mention the male/female with the blue or green hair.
    OK just for fun lets guess who blue/green hair voted for? BING BING BING BING Biden correct again!!!
    ****The automotive methods described above may not apply if a normal conservative borrows a Dook 4 Brains leftist relative’s car or in the odd and rare case of a normal person marrying a Dook 5 Brains lefty because the sex was good and maybe they only have one car. In this case: say you are speaking to a rather normal looking person – BUT – they are driving one of the above automobiles on “the watch list” what to do then? Simple just ask “Is that your car”? If they day ” No this car belongs to my Dook 4 Brains relative” “I’m just driving it while my Silverado is in the shop” then you know they are one of us and it’s safe to hang out with them.****
    In other words we dont need your mask not at the Publix, not at work, not at the Doctor’s Office, not Anywhere for Everybody to know you are “one of them”. We already know. Put the masks away already lame brains.
    Thank you America,

    • Dont Say FLA

      July 5, 2023 at 2:27 pm

      But Earl, this is a mandate about mask wearing. Ron says he is against mask mandates, but there they go again, removing consumer choice by enacting mandates about masks. At this point Rhonda is essentially a self-parody of Ron by Ron.

      • Earl Pitts American

        July 5, 2023 at 2:41 pm

        You’ve got a point there my Son/Daughter,
        I will get with The Ronald and together we shall word-smith ourselves out of this sticky situation.
        It looks like I’m going to have to go back to proof-reading and approving all their press releases again.
        Thanks again beloved Son/Daughtet,
        Earl Pitts “Proud Dad” American

        • Dont Say FLA

          July 5, 2023 at 4:10 pm

          Thanks pops!

    • Mac Wiseman

      July 5, 2023 at 2:28 pm

      Earl you owe me a cup of coffee and a new keyboard. I just laughed so hard coffee came out my nose all over my keyboard.
      We all knew about the blue/green hair and man bun folks but what took me over the edge was the cars. If you think about it its so true!!!!
      Earl pick me up a new keyboard next time you are identifying dook brain Biden voters at the store.
      Mac Wiseman

      • Jo

        July 6, 2023 at 9:14 am

        I drive a Volvo and lean far right. Sorry

        • Earl Pitts "The Big Voice On The Right" American

          July 6, 2023 at 11:29 am

          Jo think back to the circumstances surounding your aquisition of the Volvo:
          Most likely it was inherited from your leftist Aunty Mable, you may have traded a manly motorcycle for the Volvo because you and your lovely wife just had a baby and needed a car,
          you may have purchased it when you were extreemly intoxicated, you may have stolen the Volvo, Jo there are many legitamate reasons a fine beloved American, such as yourself may have accidently aquired a vehicle on the “Dook 4 Brains Lefty Watch List”.
          I, Earl Pitts American, will send you a Free “Earl Pitts American Fan Club” bumper sticker for you to proudly slap on the back of your Volvo to make sure the world knows they are dealing with a normal red blooded American who loves his Volvo.
          You are hereby absolved of any and all shade which was previously shadowing your fine Volvo.
          Drive on Proud American Jo,
          Earl Pitts American

    • Bailey

      July 5, 2023 at 8:53 pm

      This has nothing to do with Biden moron

    • Crazymom

      July 6, 2023 at 11:09 am

      It amazes me how many people are afraid of change. Or how afraid people are of someone being different from them. So they have to get on message boards and try to tear those people down… I am not a fan of wearing a mask but I promise you if someone tells me I need to put 1 on because someone around me has no immune system you can count on me to put 1 on. I don’t ever want to be the 1 to kill someone because I don’t want to follow a law because of who I or they voted for.

      • Earl Pitts "The Big Voice On The Right" American

        July 6, 2023 at 11:46 am

        Great reply Crazymom,
        I’m sending you an Earl Pitts American Fan Club bumper sticker too.
        Your childern are lucky to have you my dear beloved American,

    • M. Mouse

      July 6, 2023 at 12:05 pm

      Too many words, Earl, we have lives to lead. Would love to hear your ideas but you must learn to be brief. It’s like comedy, Earl.

  • Dennis

    July 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    Hey Earl, you forgot the guy with the tie-dyed shorts riding his recumbent bicycle down a deserted bike path with two masks on!!! Dook 4 brains there too!

    • Earl Pitts "The Big Voice On The Right" American

      July 6, 2023 at 11:41 am

      Dennis thank you,
      I totally forgot That Guy.
      Great point Sir!!!

  • GOY

    July 6, 2023 at 10:00 am

    If the policy is exactly as quoted in the article, it goes to show he could not care less about the healthcare providers and staff. Requiring patients exhibiting symptoms to wear a mask in common areas, sounds good. Not requiring masks in the treatment areas, will once again affect the frontline healthcare workers. I know without a doubt, this WILL cause people to get sick or possibly dead. I hope Florida’s medical professionals can avoid the virus and the ones that do get sick, I hope the sue the hell out of him. Furthermore, what is so bad about wearing a paper mask that are often times furnished by the facility! Talk about some damn snowflakes.

  • Cyndi

    July 6, 2023 at 10:32 am

    Next he’ll tell restaurant workers not to wash their hands after they poop cause it’s natural!

Comments are closed.


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