Officials in South Florida are working to help residents and visitors know what to expect now that Gov. Ron DeSantis has suspended all remaining COVID-19 restrictions imposed by communities across the state.
DeSantis signed into law on Monday freshly passed legislation giving him sweeping powers to invalidate local emergency measures put in place during the pandemic — including mask mandates, limitations on business operations and the shuttering of schools.
The law codifies much of the actions DeSantis had already taken, including preempting local governments from enforcing mask mandates.
Some municipalities had already lifted restrictions on their own before DeSantis' executive order. But Miami-Dade County, for example, had still required masks in all indoor public spaces and outdoors if people are within 10 feet of each other. The governor's executive order now rescinds those rules.
On Tuesday night, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said masks will continue to be required at county sites, including libraries, parks and buildings.
A federal mask mandate remains in place for public transit, Miami International Airport, and Port Miami, Levine Cava said. Masks are also required at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
In Broward County, officials said facial coverings and social distancing policies must be followed while indoors in any county building or property, including buses.
In a letter Wednesday, Fort Lauderdale City Manager Chris Lagerbloom said distancing and face coverings rules are no longer required but will be voluntary.
DeSantis' executive order doesn't have an impact on safety policies at Florida school districts for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, officials in Miami-Dade and Broward said.
Under the governor's order, private businesses can still impose restrictions on their own, and local officials are encouraging them to continue to require safety precautions.
"I urge our business community to continue to keep the fundamentals in place - masking, distancing, disinfecting, and staying home when sick - to protect all our residents and visitors," Levine Cava said in a statement. "I urge our community to continue using common sense to prevent the spread of the virus and to treat those around you, particularly in public spaces, with respect by keeping your mask on when around those outside your household."
"I am encouraging businesses to still enforce masks and distancing until our small government governor decides that he will prevent them from doing that," Broward Mayor Steve Geller said Monday.