Pinellas County ends mask mandate as DeSantis suspends COVID-19 restrictions statewide

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PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Pinellas County is rescinding its mask mandate after Gov. Ron DeSantis said he was suspending all outstanding local COVID-19 emergency orders and related public health restrictions.

County officials announced their decision to rescind the mask order in a press release Tuesday, adding that other ordinance requirements would be ending, effective immediately.

The mask order has been lifted, and an order requiring safety plans requirements for large events was also rescinded. The upcoming Board of County Commissioners meeting will no longer include a State of Local Emergency and public hearing on the ordinance requiring face coverings, officials said.

The changes will not apply to businesses and organizations or schools, which can still require patrons to wear masks. County officials said public schools will continue with their mask and social distancing requirements through the end of the 2020-2021 school year.

On Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis turned heads with a controversial order that suspended all outstanding local COVID-19 emergency orders and related public health restrictions.

“The fact is, we are no longer in a state of emergency,” DeSantis said during a news conference in St. Petersburg, citing the nation’s decline in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

Cases are on the decline in Pinellas County. Last week, the county reported 1,062 new cases and 17 deaths. The week before, there were 1,292 new cases and 17 deaths.

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