Effective May 3, 2021 at 4:06 P.M., Governor DeSantis, by way of Executive Order 21-102, suspended all remaining local government mandates and restrictions based on the COVID-19 State of Emergency.
In short, this Order provides that all local government COVID-19 restrictions and mandates on individuals and businesses are hereby suspended. However, this Order does NOT address private rules enacted by Florida’s community associations.
Remember that in order for a community association to use the statutory emergency powers, there must be a State of Emergency declared by the Governor. Therefore, since the Governor’s declared State of Emergency remains in effect through June 26, 2021, community association boards of directors may still rely on the use of the statutory emergency powers. However, please remember that in order for a community association to use the statutory emergency powers there must be a nexus between the power being utilized and the actual conditions taking place at the association. In other words, a community association cannot just exercise the emergency powers because it is convenient. There should be a nexus.
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Remember too, that on Monday, March 29, Governor DeSantis signed SB 72 into law granting liability protection to businesses and entities, such as religious institutions and community associations, from lawsuits related to COVID-19 exposure if they made a good faith effort to follow all federal, state, and local public health guidelines. To establish liability, the defendant must have acted with gross negligence or intentional conduct; clear and convincing evidence is required to establish liability, rather than a mere preponderance of the evidence; and there is a shortened statute of limitations.