Orange County mayor wants to fine repeat offenders violating safety protocols during pandemic

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings says he wants to enforce an order fining businesses that violate safety protocols during the pandemic.

A sea of concert-goers crowded into Fuego Night Club over the weekend, ignoring safety protocols during the pandemic.

Mayor Demings said he is worried about the spread of COVID-19.

"It’s a huge disappointment to me," he said.

According to TMZ, Gilt Nightclub also had a packed house on Thanksgiving. The club says it took safety precautions at the door and are allowed to operate at full capacity, per state order signed by Governor DeSantis.

Gilt Nightclub said it only operated at 75% capacity.

Governor DeSantis said, "I think personal mitigation that individuals have done have been effective. So people at higher risk make choices about avoiding those situations that maybe are more inductive to viral spread."

But, Mayor Demings says his strike teams have been looking for repeat offenders like Gilt.

The club was on a list of repeat offenders a couple of weeks ago.

"So if the business owners won’t be responsible to hold their clientele accountable, maybe they need an incentive to do so through some type of fine," Demings said. 

Governor DeSantis says he’s against fining businesses for not enforcing masks or social distancing.

"I’m opposed to mandates period," he said. "I don’t think they work. People in Florida wear them [masks] when you go out. They don’t have to be be strung up by a bayonet to wear it. Fining people is going overboard."

But Mayor Demings says he has the authority during a state of emergency to impose fines.

"I have directed the county attorney to draft an executive order that will likely give me authority to institute some form of penalties. This would apply to businesses that are habitual violators of the past," Demings said.

A worker from Fuego told us, they check everyone's temperature at the door and provide masks. A spokesperson at Gilt says they were shutdown for six months and are trying to keep workers employed.