Seminole County leaders debate future of mask mandate

County advised not to change mitigation efforts, emergency manager says

SEMINOLE COUNT, Fla. – As more people get vaccinated, elected leaders in Seminole County are demanding answers about mask mandates.

Seminole County Commissioners discussed the county’s mask mandate Tuesday asking tough questions about ways to move forward and looking for a better timeline for the county’s COVID-19 response.

After the county manager said the county is asking the public to stick with them a little longer, Commissioner Amy Lockart said, “And my point is what is the little bit longer and that’s not been brought to us.”

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Commissioner Lockart called for more transparency.

“I think right now we’re losing trust because we’re not having the open conversation as a board,” she said.

Lockhart said she also wants to hear more regularly from medical experts to make a more informed decision, if any, on how the county should move forward.

“This is for this board to discuss,” Lockhart said.

County Manager Nicole Guillet said they’ve invited medical experts and have been in touch with them during the pandemic.

“Commissioner, we report this at every meeting,” she said. “We’ve made an effort to report to you at every meeting, but no one has asked for additional information.”

“What we really need to do is work on the process, not a specific date,” said board chairman Lee Constantine.

The County’s emergency manager, Alan Harris, said the county has been working to vaccinate more people but said now is not the time to ease up on restrictions.

“Both advisory groups have advised Seminole County not to adjust the mitigation efforts that are currently in place,” Harris said.

For Resident Akasha Barreto, it’s all about her safety.

“I definitely think more stricter, mandating masks, that’s the least we can do,” said Barreto.

Harris said the plan is to bring more medical advisors to the next commission meeting to better clarify where things stand.

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About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.