“As anyone not living in a cave for the past few months would know, [we] are in the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic event.”
No more ‘Live Free Or Die’
Judge says resisters ‘living in a cave’, upholds New Hampshire mask rules
PLUS: Latest mask rules in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Walmarts coast-to-coast
July 13, 2020
CONCORD, NH (AP) — Nashua’s face-covering ordinance and the New Hampshire governor’s declaration of a state of emergency because of the coronavirus will stand while they’re being challenged in court, a judge ruled Monday.
Andrew Cooper, a Nashua resident, had filed a request for a preliminary injunction as part of his lawsuit seeing to end Gov. Chris Sununu’s emergency declaration and the city’s rules requiring members of the public ages 10 and older to wear face masks when entering any business, work site or government building.
He argued that Sununu lacked the authority to make the declaration because “there is no ‘emergency’ in New Hampshire,” a claim that Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Jacalyn Colburn said defied common sense.
“As anyone not living in a cave for the past few months would know, the State, the Country, and the entire world are in the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic event,” she wrote in denying the motion.
The judge was equally blunt in rejecting Cooper’s claim that the mask ordinance infringes on his freedom of speech.
She noted that the U.S. Supreme Court established more than a century ago that actions taken in response to a public health emergency should be upheld as long as they have a substantial relation to public health and safety and do not constitute a “plain, palpable invasion of rights.”
“Here, it is plain-as-day that the ordinance bears a substantial relation to public health and safety,” she wrote.
“It seems common sense — to everyone except the plaintiff, his attorney, and his expert — that requiring individuals to cover their faces while indoors will help reduce the transmission of a highly contagious virus that is spread through the air.”
Florida’s patchwork of tricky mask rules
[SCROLL TO BOTTOM FOR WALMART, SAM’S CLUB]
By Jacob Ogleson, July 15, 2020
FLORIDA POLITICS – Health care leaders, since the initial days of COVID-19, discouraged hoarding precious personal protective equipment. But cloth face coverings have become more than the fashion accessory in the pandemic era, with health care professionals strongly encouraging use. An increasing number of Florida jurisdictions now require masks in public and at designated businesses.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said he has no plans to issue a statewide mask requirement at this time, but also won’t preempt local regulations. Here’s Florida Politics’ roundup of regulations in the Sunshine State.
While a mask requirement has been on the books some time, county officials announced it would be enforced 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 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.
Officials issued a mask order beginning at 5pm June 29. The requirement applies to public and indoor spaces, reports News4Jax. Duval County officials made clear the order applied throughout, including in the beachfront municipalities.
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.
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 non-compliance away from business license holders and onto individual members of the public, reports Fox 13.
Indian River County
An emergency order is in effect as of June 26 requiring employees at businesses open to the public to wear masks. The requirement also applies to anyone visiting county facilities where social distancing is not possible, including libraries, or anyone using public transit. Exceptions apply including for certain health conditions and children under two.
County Commissioners voted unanimously to put a mask requirement in place beginning June 25, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. Chairman Bryan Desloge said he will review the order and local COVID-19 cases weekly to determine when the local order will be lifted.
County Commissioners approved a requirement June 19 for employees at businesses open to the public, including groceries, restaurants and retail establishments, to wear face coverings.
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 expands an emergency order already requiring employees and visitors 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 Commissioners voted to institute a mask mandate for all indoor public places, reports Action News Jax. The requirement went into effect July 3 at 7 a.m. The rule applies for those over age 6 in places where social distancing is not possible.
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. The use of N95 masks was discouraged. 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. 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.
An order has been issued requiring masks to be worn while indoors at public businesses and government facilities, reports Bay News 9.
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 June 24.
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.
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.
Mayor Dan Murphy ordered face coverings indoors except in private homes. The rule went into effect 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.
Beginning July 2, masks must be worn inside buildings and establishments within city limits, WTXL reports. The order exempts religious services and seated eating, and doesn’t apply to employees working in enclosed areas away from others.
The city ordered face coverings in public April 8. On July 2, an expanded order went into effect allowing for fines and imprisonment for those in violation.
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 April 9 encouraging face coverings for all visitors, residents and workers in the city. N95 masks are discouraged.
City Commissioners on July 7 approved an ordinance requiring masks at indoor public spaces, according to Florida Today.
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 at 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 two.
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 entering 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 third offense, with injunctions possible for continued offenders.
The city passed a resolution affirming a Palm Beach County mask requirement will be enforced in the city limits.
Mayor J.C. Bermudez put a face mask requirement in place as of April 10.
The North Florida municipality 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 municipality on July 9 passed a resolution requiring anyone outside their home to wear a mask except when in engaged in strenuous exercise, according to News 6. Infractions do not carry any fine.
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 sheilding 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 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 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 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 city issued rules for face masks for visitors, workers and the public. Residents have also been urged to wear masks in public.
The town issued an executive order requiring facemasks 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 own face mask policies. Any businesses deemed essential must require masks for visitors and employees. Requirements don’t apply to those under age 6.
Jacksonville officials issued a mask order June 29. The requirement applies to public and indoor spaces, reports News4Jax.
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.
The city on July 13 expanded an order to now require masks for everyone over age 6 to wear masks any time they are outside of their own home, the Miami Herald reports. Those who violate the rule may face jail time on a misdemeanor charge. Previously, 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 must follow sanitation guidelines and train employees on CDC recommendations for working during the pandemic.
After initially punting on the issue, Lakeland city commissioners 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.
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 own face coverings on the job for the duration of the statewide state of emergency for COVID-19.
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 and effective immediately requires masks at all open establishments, centers and meeting places within the city, including in parking lots.
Mayor Heather Lindsay ordered employees and customers at businesses to wear masks beginning June 28, reports the Pensacola News Journal. However, the City Council quickly rescinded the order.
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 on July 6 instituted a mask requirement with a $25 fine on first offense that raises to $100 by third offense, reports WFTV.
The City Council on July 7 approved a resolution requiring masks in any indoor location outside their home and any outdoor public gathering space.
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.
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. 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.
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 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. Rep. Anthony Sabatini, who has been filing lawsuits against mask orders across the state, is challenging the order.
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.
City Commissioners on June 29 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 could face a fine of $500 if found in violation.
The City Council on July 6 approved an emergency ordinance requiring customers at grocery stores and gas stations to wear masks, Florida Today reports. The municipality previously 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 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 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.
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.
City Commissioners on July 13 approved a mask ordinance requiring face coverings in any any indoor environment besides their home, The Ledger reports. Violations can result in $150 fines.
The following jurisdictions voted down mandates: Brevard County, Charlotte County, Collier County, Indian River County, Manatee County, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Green Cove Springs.
By Jacob Ogles – Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. Reach him at [email protected] | Sign up for Sunburn, a morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
Walmart and Sam’s Club to require masks nationwide
USA TODAY – Walmart and Sam’s Club will start requiring masks at stores and clubs nationwide starting July 20, the company announced Wednesday.
“We know some people have differing opinions on this topic. We also recognize the role we can play to help protect the health and well-being of the communities we serve by following the evolving guidance of health officials like the CDC,” the retailers’ chief operating officers said in a blog post Wednesday.
The move comes two days after Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said a mask mandate in stores nationwide was “obviously something that’s on our minds.”
Best Buy and Starbucks started requiring consumers nationwide wear masks Wednesday.
More companies are making face coverings a requirement as viral videos of shoppers’ tirades and confrontations over being asked to wear them during the coronavirus pandemic erupt. The coronavirus causes the disease COVID-19.
BJ’s Wholesale Club, Kohl’s and Kroger also announced new mask requirements Wednesday. Kohl’s and BJ’s will start July 20 and Kroger will start July 22.
Also on Wednesday, the National Retail Federation called on retailers to set nationwide mask policies and said “retailers of all sizes have been on the front lines serving customers and supporting their communities … Read more.