Some Broward businesses will keep masks in place after DeSantis order

County determines it can’t challenge governor’s move to end local COVID-19 ordinances

“Businesses still have their own rights as proprietors to require masks, should they chose to,” Broward Mayor Steve Geller says.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – “In Broward County, we follow the law,” Mayor Steve Geller said Tuesday.

Even if county leaders clearly don’t want to.

After reviewing Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order overnight — which invalidates local COVID-19 ordinances and emergency orders — Broward’s attorney says it’s valid and will stay.

“Businesses still have their own rights as proprietors to require masks, should they chose to,” Geller said in a commission meeting Tuesday.

And that’s the road Broward leaders are taking at this point. Since they can’t enforce much when it comes to COVID-19 safety anymore, they’re urging businesses and residents to keep up with masks and distancing.

Some business owners are not ready to drop the masks just yet.

“I wasn’t expecting [the governor’s order],” said Brent Lahaye, owner of the Noodles Panini restaurant on Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard. “We’ve always listened to the doctors and the medical people, so we’re going to keep the masks on, like my staff, for sure.”

[RELATED: Do you still need a mask? It depends where in South Florida you go.]

Publix, Walmart, Target and Home Depot are among national retailers who have told Local 10 they are not changing their mask mandates in stores at this time.

Broward said it will still require masks in county government buildings to keep employees safe.

Despite vaccines now being widely available, only 37% of eligible Broward County residents (ages 16+) are fully vaccinated, while 53% have gotten at least one shot.

About the Author:

Andrew Perez is a South Florida native who joined the Local 10 News team in May 2014.