DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A rise in Covid-19 cases in Volusia County has the Daytona Beach mayor pushing for a mask mandate.
Mayor Derrick Henry said it’s important for everyone to wear a mask to help reduce the spread of the virus, especially for the elderly who are one of the most vulnerable groups to get it.
“I see it as a matter of urgency. It’s a critical issue and situation for us to address,” said the Daytona Beach mayor. “They’re explaining to me, nobody’s wearing a mask and Mayor Henry, it’s scary. I’m frightened and I don’t want the virus.”
He said the mandate would either be for people to wear a mask in public if they can’t socially distance or when visiting an essential place like the grocery store, pharmacy or doctor’s office. There will not be a penalty for those who don’t wear a mask, but the mayor said he hopes local businesses will enforce customers to follow the policy.
"The objective is to first and foremost, community enforcement. Just as our community responded in the past when we asked folks to stay home, I'm very confident that they will respond in this circumstance," he said.
Public health officials in Volusia County reported 68 new coronavirus cases Wednesday. The county has seen 1,369 COVID-19 tests come back positive with a total of 198 people hospitalized due to the virus. As the county’s coronavirus case count approaches the 2,000 mark, county leaders are asking residents to take further precautions while supplying more resources.
Just last week, the Volusia County Health Department started offering free face coverings at four of its locations. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Volusia County told News 6 there is no countywide mask mandate in place as of right now, but its working with all cities on a “mask up” campaign.
Mayor Henry said he plans to have his mask policy in place by next week.
“The objective is to get it done quickly because the longer we wait, I believe the more the virus spreads.”