TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA)—Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order on Friday ushering the state into Phase 3, the final stage of his reopening plan.
The order, which lifts pandemic-related restrictions on restaurants, bars and other businesses, went into effect on Friday.
Although the order suspends virus-related penalties and fines on individuals, local officials say it does not stop businesses from being fined, and you’ll still need to wear masks in indoor public spaces.
“Face masks are still required in Hillsborough County when in any indoor location, other than your home,” officials said in a text alert sent to residents on Sunday.
Tampa Bay cities and counties that are mandating facial coverings in public:
In Hillsborough County, residents and visitors must wear masks inside businesses where social distancing isn’t possible, but fines will no longer be issued.
Tampa issued its own mask ordinance in June requiring people to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces.
Face coverings are still required in indoor public places in Pinellas County. Bar and restaurant customers must be seated to be served.
“While the governor’s order suspends the collection of fines and penalties associated with COVID-19 enforced upon individuals, it does not restrict counties and municipalities from enforcing rules on businesses,” county officials said in a news release.
St. Petersburg issued an executive order in June requiring residents, visitors and business employees to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. Mayor Rick Kriseman tweeted a message Friday urging residents to wear masks indoors.
There is no countywide mask mandate in place at this time.
In Sarasota, face coverings are required in indoor and outdoor public locations and businesses. The face mask requirement began July 1 and has been extended through Oct. 28.
The Venice City Council extended the city’s mask requirement to Oct. 31. Violators face a penalty of up to $500.
The Manatee County Commission voted Tuesday to repeal the countywide mandatory mask mandate.
While the commissioners voted 4-3 to repeal the mandate, they did unanimously urge everyone in the county to continue wearing masks indoors when social distancing isn’t possible.
“The majority of people wear a mask not because of a mandate but because they know it’s the right thing to do,” said Commissioner Vanessa Baugh who voted for the repeal. “It’s up to each business to enforce whether people should wear a mask or not.”
Bradenton, Anna Maria, Longboat Key and Holmes Beach have all enacted their own mask orders requiring people to wear masks in public.
While there is no countywide mask mandate, officials strongly recommend residents and visitors wear face masks and follow CDC guidelines.
In Lakeland, residents, visitors and workers are required to wear face coverings in public spaces through at least Oct. 5. Winter Haven’s face mask ordinance was scheduled to expire on Sept. 15.
There are currently no face mask requirements in Hernando, Highlands, Citrus, DeSoto or Hardee counties.
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