The Sarasota City Commission voted 3-2 Monday to begin reinstating the city's expired mask mandate. Commissioners Jen Ahearn-Koch, Liz Alpert and Kyle Battie were in favor of resurrecting the emergency mandate, which expired in February, while Mayor Hagen Brody and commissioner Eric Alpert voted against doing so, pointing to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ previous decision to bar local governments from being able to enforce it. (Battie had previously voted to allow the mandate to expire.)
DeSantis has told local governments they cannot collect fines for mask violations. In a recent executive order, he remitted any fines imposed by local governments related to Covid-19 restrictions. City manager Marlon Brown said at Monday's meeting that he would not enforce the new mandate which, to pass, requires approval two more times by a majority of the commission.
“If there isn’t any teeth in the ordinance, we cannot apply it,” he said.