Mayor: Follow Covid-19 Safety Guidelines Or Face Massive Fines

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings is following through with his threat to levy fines against local businesses that repeatedly disobey the mask mandate, social distancing guidelines and other COVID-19 safety measures.

Thursday evening the county provided a draft of the new executive order aimed at gaining compliance from businesses. That document states that a fine issued by law enforcement or code enforcement will not exceed $500. If the fine is posed by a special magistrate, that number increases to $1,000 per day for a first offense and $5,000 per day for subsequent offenses. The most serious violations, deemed “irreparable or irreversible in nature,” could be hit with a $15,000 fine per violation. The fining process is not criminal in nature, which means no arrests would be made.

Demings first floated the idea of fining rebellious business owners during one of his twice-weekly coronavirus press briefings on Nov. 23. He and the county attorney determined that he had the power to issue fines to businesses,despite the governor's executive order.

The mayor plans to speak more about the draft executive order during a coronavirus briefing Friday afternoon.