TAMPA (WFLA) – Tampa Code Enforcement officers fanned out in the city’s entertainment district on Friday night, the night the mandatory mask ordinance went into effect.

They weren’t there to enforce, rather to educate. Wallace Nelson and Danny Fernandez stopped by Fire Station Number 1 to pick up three boxes of masks to give out to people who didn’t have them.

Wallace says he knows some people won’t wear a mask no matter what.

“We will get some push back. Everyone is not going to wear a mask. So, we’re kind of prepared for that. And we’ll do the best that we can do,” said Wallace. “All we really want to do is keep people safe and keep them happy. That’s our number one goal. “

Officers were planning on giving out masks rather than writing citations. But, they say if someone refuses to wear a mask when they are supposed to, the fine could be up to $500.

The ordinance requires that anyone walking into a public building or business wears a mask. Private residences aren’t included. The only exceptions are if people are eating or drinking. That concerns one Ybor City business owner.

Yanko Maceda owns Tabanaro Cigars on 7th Avenue in the heart of Ybor City. He says business is a fraction of what it was before the coronavirus and he believes this mask mandate is just the latest nail in the small business coffin.

“I don’t’ know how I’m going to tell my customers you can’t light up a cigar because you have to have a mask on.”