The Washington Post

Law will preempt local coronaviru­s limits

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Florida Gov. Ron Desantis (R) moved to suspend all remaining coronaviru­s restrictio­ns imposed by communitie­s across his state, signing into law on Monday newly 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.

In addition to signing the law, which goes into effect July 1, the governor also signed a pair of executive orders to move more quickly, meaning that coronaviru­s measures enacted by local government­s — such as requiring masks — would be abolished immediatel­y.

Some municipali­ties have already lifted restrictio­ns. But Miami-dade County, for example, still requires masks in all indoor public spaces and outdoors if people are within 10 feet of each other. The governor’s executive order rescinds those rules. However, private businesses — including theme parks and hospitals — can impose restrictio­ns on their own.

To date, more than 2.2 million Floridians have been infected with the coronaviru­s. More than 36,000 have died, but in per capita deaths, Florida has fared better than most states. Although daily infections and deaths have gone down, the pandemic is far from over. On Monday, there were some 3,600 Floridians hospitaliz­ed with covid-19 as the primary diagnosis.

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