Businesses can make their own mask rules in South Florida. What to expect at the store

·4 min read

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has suspended all COVID-19 orders issued across the state, including mask mandates.

Does that mean you can be maskless again? It’s complicated.

Businesses can still require people to wear masks, which means some places might make you mask up and others won’t. South Florida officials say masks can also be required in county buildings and county-owned property. They’re also asking businesses to still require social distancing and masks, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends, to help stop the spread of COVID.

What does life look now in South Florida? Here’s what to expect:

Do I still need to wear a mask inside restaurants? What about in Walmart, Target and other businesses?

Under the new law, every business is allowed to make its own COVID-19 safety rules. This means that while some stores or restaurants might not require masks, others will. Walmart and Target, for example, are still requiring their employees and customers to wear a mask.

How do you know if a business has a mask policy? Some businesses might post it on their website or social media or have a sign near the door. You can also call the store to ask.

Do I need a mask at grocery stores like Publix and Winn-Dixie?

An older couple browses the vitamins at a Sedano’s Supermarket in Hialeah, Florida on Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
An older couple browses the vitamins at a Sedano’s Supermarket in Hialeah, Florida on Wednesday, April 1, 2020.

Again, it depends on what the business wants to do. Employees and customers still need to wear a mask inside Publix. Masks are also required at Winn-Dixie and Fresco y Más stores, too.

What about at the mall and movie theaters?

Shoppers take a break at Dadeland Mall. Some guests removed their masks to eat or drink takeout items they’d bought elsewhere in the mall.
Shoppers take a break at Dadeland Mall. Some guests removed their masks to eat or drink takeout items they’d bought elsewhere in the mall.

Again, this will depend on the business. All Simon malls in South Florida, for example, will continue to require their employees and shoppers to wear masks. This includes at Dadeland Mall, The Falls, Miami International Mall and Sawgrass Mills. Simon also requires all retailers and restaurants inside the malls to require masks, including Macy’s, JCPenney and Apple.

Movie theater chains AMC and Regal Cinema have mask policies in place and have not announced any changes for their Florida locations.

Are South Florida schools still requiring masks?

Students wearing masks cross in front of a school bus at Carrie P. Meek/Westview K-8 on the first day back of in-person learning for pre-k, kindergarten and first-graders in Miami-Dade public schools.
Students wearing masks cross in front of a school bus at Carrie P. Meek/Westview K-8 on the first day back of in-person learning for pre-k, kindergarten and first-graders in Miami-Dade public schools.

Yes, masks are still required for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year until further notice at Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Broward County Public Schools, the Monroe County School District and the School District of Palm Beach County.

What about at parks, public libraries or places like Zoo Miami and Vizcaya?

Yes, masks and social distancing are still required at all “county spaces,” according to Miami-Dade County. This includes at public libraries, county parks and county government buildings. And yes, this includes at places like Zoo Miami and Vizcaya.

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Broward County told Local 10 masks will still be required in county government buildings. Masks are also required in Palm Beach county government buildings, according to WPTV.

Do I need a mask at the airport? What about in the bus or in an Uber or Lyft?

Jim Cantave looks on while riding the Metrorail wearing a protective mask during the COVID19 pandemic in Miami on Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
Jim Cantave looks on while riding the Metrorail wearing a protective mask during the COVID19 pandemic in Miami on Wednesday, April 1, 2020.

Yes, masks are still required at Miami International Airport, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and PortMiami. Masks are also required on buses, Metrorail, taxis, Uber, Lyft and any other public transportation. This is because of a federal mask mandate on public transit.

Miami International Airport offering COVID-19 vaccines to Florida passengers, employees

Are masks required at the post office or federal courthouses? What about at national parks like the Everglades?

Yes, masks are still required in federal buildings, including post offices and federal court buildings. Masks are also required on any federal land, including national parks like the Everglades. That’s because of a federal mandate President Joe Biden issued in his first day in office.

I want to take a trip to the Florida Keys. Are masks required?

Monroe County said it will no longer enforce its mask mandate. Key West had already stopped enforcing its facial covering mandate in early March after DeSantis canceled fines for violating COVID emergency orders.

However, businesses can still require customers and employees to wear masks.

Are masks being enforced?

It’s up to each individual location to enforce own its policy.

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