SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Seminole County officials saw over-capacity crowds on Tuesday when the Board of County Commissioners voted on whether to end the county’s mandatory mask order on June 7.
Ultimately, after hearing from medical experts and members of the community, they decided the mandate is still needed to keep residents safe from COVID-19.
Seminole County’s District 2 Commissioner Jay Zembower proposed a motion that passed with a 3-2 vote.
His motion included that the board revisit the mask mandate issue every 30 days, or every second commission meeting of each month.
Additionally, the motion passing means that the mask mandate will remain in place unless 50% of the county’s eligible population has been vaccinated and the county sees 30 days of a decline in COVID-19 transmission, or if the county’s medical experts recommend it.
Commissioner Amy Lockhart was behind the proposal to do away with the mask mandate and said government mandates shouldn’t be in place indefinitely.
“We need to allow professionals and families to determine what their risk level is,” Lockhart said.
Rather than a mask mandate, Lockhart said she would like to see the county pass a resolution to encourage residents to wear masks.
“It’s appropriate that we allow people the latitude to make the decisions that are best for them,” she said.
Lockart stressed the change in policy isn’t an anti-mask stance, but instead would bring the county more in line with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Everyone is in a different situation and the CDC recognizes that everyone is in a different situation,” Lockhart said. “I think what this does is make the recommendation of the board of county commissioners actually something that we own.”