Gov. DeSantis 'loves to create confusion' says Demings over order banning COVID fines

Orange County Mayor Jerry Deming says Gov. Ron DeSantis is only creating confusion with his latest executive order which bans counties and municipalities from fining businesses for COVID-19 safety violations.

"I believe Gov. DeSantis loves to create confusion," Demings said during a coronavirus briefing on Thursday, adding that the county hasn't depended on the governor during the pandemic and doesn't need him to get involved now. "We have been decisive and taken action when the governor was slow to act."

Demings said the county had achieved 99% compliance to local orders over COVID-19 safety.

FOX 35 News spoke with local business owners to see how they’re feeling about the governor’s new executive over prohibiting fines for businesses during the pandemic.

The owner of In and Out Barbershop ll in Apopka, Eddy Sanchez, got slapped with a $300 fine from Orange County in December. He said he got fined because a customer wasn’t wearing a mask.

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"Another individual decided not to wear a mask and I was the one held accountable," Sanchez said. "That wasn’t fair."

When he heard about the governor’s executive order that prohibits businesses from being fined during the pandemic, he was relieved.

"Even though the governor made this decision, I’m not going to stop wearing my mask," Sanchez said. "To me, safety first.

FOX 35 News also spoke with the owner of Pig Floyd’s in Orlando, Thomas Ward. He has not been fined by the county.

"I’m taking the necessary precautions,"

He plans to keep his COVID-19 precautions in place.

However, he believes more businesses will start loosening their COVID-19 precautions.

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"Some of the people are going to consider that they have no repercussions for it," Ward said. "I think everybody should take precautions and if they think they’re not safe to go out, then they should go home."

At the barbershop, Sanchez has already been to court to fight his fine. Now that the executive order is in place, he wonders what will happen to the case.

"I don’t know if the court is just going to drop the case or if I’ll have to appear in court," Sanchez said.

Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.