ORLANDO, Fla. – As COVID-19 continues to spread across Central Florida, counties are issuing face covering requirements hoping to curb the transmission of the virus.
COVID-19 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets often dispersed through coughing, sneezing, and even speaking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thus, public health officials have been advising people to wear a mask.
As the number of coronavirus cases in Florida approaches the 150,000 mark, leaders have turned to executive orders mandating the use of masks or face coverings.
Below is a list of counties that have enacted a face covering mandate.
While the entirety of Brevard County is not under a face mask mandate, the city of Satellite Beach will now mandate that all essential businesses require masks for all patrons and employees.
The mandate was approved at the city’s council meeting Monday and considers grocery stores, drug stores, convenience stores and gas stations under its essential business provision.
“The Emergency Ordinance also requires all other businesses to post their mask/face coverings policy on the front entry doorway of the business to advise customers entering the businesses,” city officials said in a news release. “The City Council also adopted Emergency Ordinance #01-2020, requiring all individuals to wear a face mask or covering at all times when at an indoor City-owned and operated facility.”
According to city officials, there are “limited exceptions to the order for certain circumstances and health conditions.”
The town of Indialantic issued a local emergency order going into effect Friday at 8 a.m. that will require the use of face masks for “every person living, working, or visiting the town,” according to a news release.
According to town officials, the local emergency order will “require face coverings in indoor Town owned and operated facilities, to require all businesses to post their face covering policy to alert older persons and persons with underlying conditions of whether or not all other persons within a business will have face coverings as a way to make informed decisions to enter a business, and to require businesses that are deemed “essential” by this Local Emergency Order to the needs of all residents to require face coverings for all patrons.”
The order defines a face covering as “a uniform piece of material that securely covers a persons’ nose and mouth and remains affixed in place without the use of one’s hands, whether store-bought or homemade, concurrent with CDC guidelines.”
There are exceptions to the face mask order, which can be found by clicking here.
The emergency order will remain in place for 7 days, beginning at 8 a.m. Friday and expiring at 12:01 a.m. on July 15, and can be renewed.
Orange County’s executive order went into effect Saturday, requiring anyone living or visiting Orange County to wear a face covering.
The county-wide order, which includes Orlando, says masks must be worn in locations where social distancing is not possible.
People can forego face coverings if they are able to maintain six feet of distance from others in the same location such as parks or other large open areas. Children under 2 years old are exempt from the order, as well as those who have a health condition that would worsen due to the use of a mask.
Orange County leads Central Florida with the highest number of coronavirus cases, surpassing 10,000 infections and counting.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said the order would not be enforced through fines but allows others to submit complaints to the county. The mayor said complaints regarding businesses not adhering to CDC guidelines or the mask mandate will be handled on a case by case basis as the county will look at different options to address and enforce public health measures.
The order is in effect until further notice. Demings said if the upward trend of coronavirus cases continues, additional measures will be taken to ensure public health safety.
Seminole County’s face covering requirement will go into effect Wednesday.
Anyone within county boundaries who is outside in public will be required to wear a mask. Those who may be exempt are people exercising, residents with specific medical conditions and children under two years of age.
Donna Walsh, Florida Department of Health in Seminole Health Officer, said the current numbers of infection in the county is cause for worry.
County leaders say the region saw an increase in coronavirus cases after the economy started to reopen. While the county has seen more than 3,000 cases of COVID-19, leaders say closing the economy again is not an option, implementing the mask mandate to help remain open while helping to keep the public safe from coronavirus.
Though county leaders were not clear about how this new rule would be enforced, they say compliance is not optional. As a whole, they’re asking those who visit or live within the county to do what’s right and to cover up.
Seminole County leaders did not say when the order would be lifted.
Osceola County issued a mask mandate a month within the pandemic, saying it will be in effect until the virus has been eliminated.
County leaders issued its face coverings requirement April 13, requiring anyone in public to cover up.
Though they’ve seen a renewed increase in coronavirus cases, region officials say its been small with increases consistently in the double-digits with their positivity rate remaining below 5%.
Officials say two months later they have seen people become more relaxed around the mandate, and while the county cannot fine or arrest those who don’t comply, they are responding to complaints.
The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office says when it receives complaints the reports are sent to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Law enforcement often takes an educational approach working to inform people as they encourage safe practices while out in public.
While the entirety of Polk County is not under a face mask mandate, the city of Lakeland announced Wednesday that a face mask mandate would go into effect at 5 p.m. to help curb the spread of COVID-19 and that a fine would be used to enforce the resolution.
City officials said exemptions are listed in the resolution for those that wouldn’t be required to wear a mask. These exemptions include children under eight-years-old, if a medical issue prohibits the wearing of a mask, issues regarding ADA compliancy, persons exercising, those individuals who have an occupation that prohibits a mask and when social distancing is practiced.
The city will use a fine not exceeding $250 for those who choose not to comply.
Lakeland Mayor Bill Mutz said he does not want to use fines to enforce the resolution but “those that are being obstinate and create an issue will be given a fine.”
The face mask resolution is set to expire at 5 p.m. on Aug. 3.
On Monday, Winter Haven commissioners unanimously voted to enact an emergency ordinance that would require “every person working, living, visiting, or doing business in the City of Winter Haven” to wear a face mask in any indoor space, other than an individual’s home, when social distancing is not possible.
The ordinance goes into effect at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
According to the emergency ordinance, anyone found to not be in compliance with the order could be fined $150. There are exceptions to the ordinance, which can be found by clicking here.
The ordinance will expire at 5 p.m. on Aug. 14 unless rescinded or extended by further action of the Winter Haven City Commission.
Though Volusia County has not issued a mask mandate, several cities within its region has.
DeLand city commissioners held an emergency ordinance meeting on Thursday where several residents showed up to voice their concerns about face mask requirements. The mandate was approved 4 to 1 and goes into effect Friday.
According to the emergency ordinance, an individual in a business establishment must wear a face covering while in that business establishment. The requirement does not apply to children under 2 years old or people with health conditions that would be impaired by a face mask.
DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar said businesses would be required to post signs alerting people they need to wear masks. If someone fails to comply, they could be slapped with a fine starting at $25 and going up to $100.
In Ormond Beach, city Mayor Bill Partington issued a proclamation Thursday evening that proclaims wearing a face mask is a necessity when people cannot social distance.
City officials said residents will need to wear a mask in public, businesses will be encouraged to ban people without masks and the rule won’t apply for those who can be socially distant.
People in Daytona Beach are required to wear a face covering at public indoor locations where keeping socially distant is not possible.
The city’s mandate went into effect Sunday, asking anyone visiting or doing business in Daytona Beach to follow CDC guidelines to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Those exempt from the requirement are children under 2 years old, those who have health conditions in which a mask would cause impairment, workers who can maintain social distance on the job or who have duties that would be affected by the use of a mask, and those exercising.
The resolution will be enforced with warnings through July 16. City leaders expect to review complaints and coronavirus cases to discuss further enforcement with the Daytona Beach Police Department before deciding to extend the face covering requirement.
New Smyrna Beach city commissioners voted Wednesday to mandate face coverings in public when social distancing is not practical. The requirement went into effect immediately.
Those exempt from wearing face masks are those under two years of age, those who have health conditions in which a mask would cause impairment, workers who can maintain social distance on the job or who have duties that would be affected by the use of a mask, anyone eating or drinking, those with hearing difficulties who need to see the mouth of someone while communicating and those exercising.
The mask mandate will expire in New Smyrna Beach when the city’s emergency declaration ends, which was adopted on Mar. 17, 2020.
Orange City on Monday passed a mandate, requiring masks in public.
The mandate was approved 6-1 during a commission meeting. Vice Mayor Bill O’Connor was the only one to vote against the measure.
Volusia County is strongly encouraging residents to cover up to help curb the spread of COVID-19.