OCALA, Fla. – The mayor of Ocala held a news conference Friday to “speak from the heart” about the city’s position on enforcing the state’s rules concerning the coronavirus.
Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn said that he will not be following Gov. Ron DeSantis’ phase one orders during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I have instructed the chief of police not to enforce gov order,” the mayor said, claiming that it violates certain rights.
The mayor said that authorities will not be arresting anyone for gathering.
“If there are more than 10 people in a group, we’re not going to stop them,” Guinn said. “Let Marion County be an example of how we can bring the economy back in Florida.”
According to the mayor, phase one violates the community’s rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of religion, as well as those granted by the 14th amendment’s equal protection clause.
“We are not going to go around the city and county occupancy or capacity,” Guinn said. “We’re not going to shut down any churches, we’re not going to do that.”
While Ocala police won’t enforce the rules, state authorities with agencies like the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, OSHA and other state-run entities can enforce the rules.
According to the mayor, Ocala will not report orders being broken to DBPR, however, if DBPR steps in, their authority supersedes the mayor’s orders.
Marion County has 202 positive coronavirus cases as of Friday morning with 29 total hospitalizations since the outbreak began.
Under the governor’s phase one plan, certain businesses were able to open on Monday with limited capacity.
Copyright 2020 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.