A Volusia County Circuit Judge has dismissed a challenge against a DeLand ordinance requiring people to wear masks inside businesses and other indoor locations.
“Because extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, state and local governments all over America are enacting emergency laws designed to protect their citizens from the spread of this deadly virus — just like they did 100 years ago,” Circuit Judge Randell H. Rowe III wrote in the judgment. “The ordinance is authorized not only by statute, but by well settled case law precedent dating back over a hundred years.”
In an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the city, the DeLand City Commission passed the mask law in an emergency meeting July 2. It requires mask-wearing inside businesses, and provides for fines of $25 for a first offense, $50 for a second and $100 for a third.
The judge issued the ruling in a lawsuit filed by Rep. Anthony Sabatini, who has now failed six times in getting the courts to overturn local ordinances requiring residents to wear masks in public.
It’s also the second loss for Sabatini in less than a week — on Aug. 26, Judge David Frank of the 2nd Circuit Court upheld Gadsden County’s mask mandate and warned the Lake County lawmaker that if he continued filing “frivolous lawsuits” he could face judicial sanction.
In the Monday ruling, Rowe noted Sabatini’s prolific filings, noting that he has filed more than a dozen lawsuits challenging similar ordinances across the state.
Sabatini has argued mask mandates are “unconstitutional.”
He argues such mandates violate basic rights and due process. The crux of his argument lies in the privacy clause in the state’s governing document.
Rowe said the ordinance complies with the Florida Constitution.
“The Court cannot help but note that the only way the Plaintiff might suffer irreparable harm here is if the City’s face mask ordinance is found unconstitutional and the Plaintiff, therefore, is placed at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 because the citizens of DeLand stop wearing face coverings in public,” Rowe wrote.
The man Sabatini represented in the DeLand case did not testify how his right to privacy was being violated by DeLand’s ordinance, which requires residents to wear masks whenever they are indoors at a business.
Sabatini has also railed against fines associated the ordinances in DeLand and other cities and counties, though, as reported by the Daytona Beach News-Journal, DeLand City Manager Michael Pleus said no fines have been assessed since the city commission voted 4-1 to establish the ordinance early last month.
This article first appeared at Florida Politics.
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