Osceola County revises its coronavirus mask mandate

Changes include new exceptions for sporting events

Generic face mask image. (Juraj Varga/Pixabay)

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Osceola County commissioners voted Monday to make changes to the countywide face mask mandate in response to Gov. Ron DeSantis' executive order issued last week.

Under DeSantis' executive order, no local governments can issue fines or penalties associated with safety measures to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

Osceola County has required face coverings since July 20. The county commissioners voted Monday unanimously to make changes to align it with the governor’s mandate.

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The update also includes a new exception for those participating in sports, meaning “persons actively engaged in competition on the field of play during organized sports events” do not have to wear a face covering.

Osceola Commission Chairwoman Viviana Janer said the change does not apply to those watching sporting events.

“We wanted to be able to offer reasonable accommodation to athletes who are competing in Osceola County to bring some semblance of normality to sporting events,” Janer said in a statement. “However, face coverings should be used while on the bench or on the sidelines -- it is very important that people continue to wear face coverings when in public as a way to slow the spread of the disease.

Other exceptions to the face mask policy include children under two years old, persons with health conditions that wearing a face covering would cause impairment, people who do not need to have face-to-face interaction with the public at work, people working in a profession where use of a face covering will not be compatible with the duties of the profession and people exercising while observing six-feet apart.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wearing a face covering in public and avoiding close contact is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“By now the consequences of not wearing a face covering should be obvious, so for the sake of your health and the health of everyone around you, wear a face covering,” Janer said.