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Christmas decorations banned at Florida toll plaza | Public Spaces

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Christmas decorations banned at Florida toll plaza
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Christmas decorations banned at Florida toll plaza

Leesburg, Florida - It seems like there are signs of the holiday season just about everywhere you look. But not in one Central Florida workplace.  Toll workers say they've been told to keep their decorations to themselves this year.

Lana Fontanetta, is originally from the Tampa Bay area. She's going to work in Leesburg dressed head-to-toe in the Christmas spirit. She says, "I had bells on my shoes earlier."

From the bells on her earrings to green and red hair scrunchies
it's her way of celebrating her favorite holiday. "Christmas is the biggest holiday and it means so much to me."

It's also her way of protesting her employer's latest rule. The single mother is a toll booth operator for the State of Florida and now she's been told work is no place for Christmas.

She says on Friday the annual Christmas tree and garland was up in the window but by Saturday it was gone from public view.  Fontanetta says, "You want to feel the joy and I feel like somebody's trying to keep me down. I am a Christian and I'm not afraid to say it."

A spokesperson for Florida Turnpike Enterprise says the state had to ban all decorations this year after drivers started to complain. Apparently more people were upset by what they saw in the office windows than ever before.

It's not just Christmas decorations. The state says the new rule covers all decorations for all religions and all holidays. While Fontanetta knows everyone doesn't celebrates Christmas she wonders where the line is between their rights and her right to celebrate.

Fontanetta adds, "I feel like somebody's trying to tell me not to celebrate or how to celebrate."

The state says it comes down to money. It has to be fair to all people of all beliefs and it can't go out and buy decorations for everyone's holidays so the easiest thing was to get rid of decorations altogether.

The rule actually went into place about four or five months ago so the complaints could have come from Easter or Halloween.


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