PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners have issued an executive order requiring everyone in the county to wear face masks while indoors at public businesses effective Wednesday.
According to the executive order, residents must wear face-covering that covers the nose and mouth and remains affixed or a face shield. A cloth face covering, or mask, maybe factory-made or sewn by hand and can be improvised from clothing or other household fabric items.
The motion passed 6-1 with Kathleen Peters being the lone exception saying she supports wearing masks but doesn’t support making it mandatory.
Exceptions to the order include:
- The mandate cannot conflict with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- It does not apply if a person is strictly adhering to social distancing and there are 10 or fewer people in the location who are also maintaining social distancing.
- It does not apply to governmental entities such as schools, courthouses or city halls, although those entities are encouraged to develop procedures to protect employees and the public.
- If a person is under age 18, that person’s use of a face covering is left to the discretion of that person’s parent, guardian or an accompanying adult.
- Religious rituals such as various forms of singing are permitted provided that social distancing is strictly maintained.
- Exercising while social distancing, such as in a gym, is permitted without a face covering.
In addition, restaurant and bar staff must wear a face covering while on duty and while directly or indirectly preparing food or beverage, or serving food or beverage, or having customer contact, regardless of where the food or beverage is being prepared or whether the customers are inside or outside. Customers can remove their face coverings while dining or consuming a beverage when seated and social distancing.
Restaurants and bars must position chairs and tables so that parties of one or more are separated by six feet and patrons are not standing at the bar or congregating in any area.
Retail employees must wear face coverings unless working in an area of the business that is not open to the customers and has social distancing measures in place.
9-year-old Grace Harrison called into the commission meeting to voice her opinion.
“Kids will wear masks if you make it fun. Look at Halloween. Kids wear masks all the time and it doesn’t cause any issues,” Harrison said.
The executive order will go into effect on Wednesday, June 24 at 5 p.m.