ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman announced Wednesday that all St. Pete businesses including bars, gyms, retail establishments, retail, barbershops, and salons will now be required to have employees to wear a face mask or covering in areas open to the public.

Kriseman says mask usage must increase and this will now go in effect on Friday at 5 p.m. Kriseman says defiance of the order will be a municipal violation.

All businesses will also be required to post a plan specific to your workplace along with potential exposures to COVID-19 and what business plan to eliminate or reduce exposure.

“We plan to take this seriously… consider this your warning,” Kriseman said.

Bob Linde owns Traditions School of Herbal Studies. He spoke with 8 On Your Side’s Chip Osowski about how masks are changing the way businesses operate.

“We’re all complaining about it. We’re also really happy that none of us have gotten sick,” Linde said.

“Half of our students don’t feel comfortable. We’ve put in more nights so we could have less students and maintain the six feet. It’s a total pain. Not fun for anybody. None of them want to do this.”

Linde said however, their jobs are to work as healers, and they will do their part to make sure their clients and patients are safe.

Elizabeth Stachecki is a student at the school. She said she isn’t always comfortable wearing a mask.

“I personally don’t wear it outside of work, but when I’m here it’s hot and it’s hard for me to breathe,” she said.

Kriseman also said an order is being written requiring all residents wear a mask when entering businesses or other indoor places shared by groups of people, except your home, but it’s not yet complete and Kriseman doesn’t plan to put it that order in place by this weekend.

If you see a violation you are asked to call the St. Petersburg Police Department’s non-emergency line at 727-893-7780 or email