TALLAHASSSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — An executive order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis to help reopen the state’s economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic does not block Miami-Dade County from imposing a curfew, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.
A panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal rejected arguments by Tootsie’s Cabaret strip club that the executive order “preempts” the curfew, which was imposed from midnight to 6 a.m. and was aimed at preventing spread of the virus.
Attorneys for the strip club pointed to part of a September executive order by DeSantis that said local governments could not take COVID-19 emergency actions that would “prevent an individual from working or from operating a business.”
A circuit judge ruled in favor of the club, but the appeals court reversed that decision.
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“Because EO 20-244 (the executive order) aims to preempt only those COVID-19 emergency measures enacted by local government that ‘prevent an individual from working or from operating a business’ by prohibiting either or shutting down a business altogether, the county’s curfew, which concededly allows Tootsie’s to operate from six a.m. to midnight daily, does not fall within this express limitation,” said Wednesday’s ruling, written by Judge Fleur Lobree and joined by Judges Ivan Fernandez and Eric Hendon.
“Had the governor meant to preempt local governments from imposing curfews, he could have said so. Accordingly, Tootsie’s failed to show that section two of EO 20-244 clearly and expressly preempted the county’s curfew.”
A Tootsie’s Cabaret spokesman released the following statement in reaction to the court decision.
“As we have said from the very beginning of this case, this is not a dispute between Tootsies and Miami Dade County. Rather the issue is whether Governor DeSantis, through EO 20-244, intended to restrict local governments, such as Miami Dade County, from issuing emergency orders that prevent workers from working and businesses from being open for a six hour period during the day. We are confident that we will ultimately prevail on the legal issues as we go forward. Hopefully the Governor will now weigh in, so that hard working people in Miami Dade County can get back to work and businesses can operate when they choose and not when the County demands.”
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