Lawsuit filed against Seminole County over mask mandate at certain businesses amidst coronavirus pandemic

(Orange County)

A business owner has filed a lawsuit against Seminole County for mandating that business employees and patrons wear face masks when standing closer than six feet amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuit states that both the 'Guidelines for Opening Up America Again' by the White House and the 'Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida's Recovery' by Governor Ron DeSantis do not mandate that residents wear face masks. The White House plan advises that individuals "strongly consider using face coverings while in public," while Florida's plan leaves it up to the individual's discretion.

However, Seminole County Executive Order 20-017 requires business employees and patrons to wear face masks when six feet of distance cannot be made. Section 1 of the order states that businesses that require employees and patrons to be within six feet of each other must wear a face mask or covering. If the service cannot be done with a mask on, the customer can choose to not wear the mask but the service provider must.

The order goes on to state that businesses and individuals that do not comply can be fined $500 per occurrence. Repeat violations can result in mandatory closure.

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The lawsuit claims that the business owner filing has been personally and negatively affected by the mandate to wear a mask. It states that Seminole County does not have the legal authority to create a mandate for citizens to wear masks and they should not enforce the executive order to do so. It also believes that the order is in direct conflict with both the White House's and Florida's reopening plans.

It goes on to describe Seminole County's mask mandate as "radical" and "unconstitutional," as the Florida Constitution states that "every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person's private life except as otherwise provided herein." It claims that the executive order violates the article of the Florida Constitution that "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law."


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