Where are masks mandated in Tampa Bay?


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – As the coronavirus pandemic continues, some cities and counties in the Tampa Bay area are enacting mask ordinances for residents and employees.

8 On Your Side has a county-by-county breakdown of where ordinances are in place.

There are currently no updates for Citrus, Hernando, Highlands or Hardee counties.

This article will be updated with more information as it comes into our newsroom.

Hillsborough County: Masks mandated

The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group passed a mask ordinance on June 22 that went into effect Wednesday, June 24 at 5 p.m.

Employees and customers are required to wear a mask inside businesses. The ordinance will not require people to wear a mask outside, unless social distancing is not possible.

Places of worship are exempt from the ordinance, but Hillsborough County Schools have since required that mask be worn in schools.

Tampa: Masks mandated

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor previously implemented a mask ordinance in the city, which went into effect June 19.

The ordinance states, “Every person working, living, visiting, or doing business in the City of Tampa shall wear a face covering in any indoor location, other than their home or residence, when not maintaining social distancing from other person(s), excluding family members or companions.”

Below are the exceptions to the ordinance:

  • Persons under the age of two years
  • Persons observing social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines
  • Persons for whom a face covering would cause impairment due to an existing health condition
  • Persons working in a business or profession who do not have interactions with other persons
  • Persons working in a business or profession who maintain social distancing from another person
  • Persons working in a business or profession where use of a face covering would prevent them from performing the duties of the business or profession
  • Persons exercising, while maintaining social distancing
  • Persons while eating or drinking
  • Public safety, fire and other life safety and health care personnel, as their personal protective equipment requirements will be governed by their respective agencies
  • The requirement shall not apply when a person who is hearing-impaired needs to see the mouth of someone wearing a face-covering in order to communicate

If someone is found without a mask or face-covering, it will be a civil citation.

Pinellas County: Masks mandated

On June 23, the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners issued an executive order requiring everyone in the county to wear face masks while indoors at public businesses, effective June 24 at 5 p.m.

According to the executive order, residents must wear face coverings including face shields when in public locations in Pinellas County in places with more than 10 people.

Pinellas County Schools are also requiring masks within its buildings.

St. Petersburg: Masks mandated

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman signed an executive order on June 22 that requires residents and employees in the city to wear masks indoors. This order went into effect on June 23.

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

Kriseman said defiance of the order will be a municipal violation.

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 action@stpete.org.

Pasco County: Masks mandated

The Pasco County administrator issued an executive order on June 23 requiring everyone in the county to wear face masks while indoors at public businesses effective immediately.

Face Covering Order Requirements:

  • Face coverings should cover nose and mouth
  • Order applies to all businesses and county government facilities open to the public
  • Businesses must ensure compliance with this Order
  • Businesses in violation of this Order could face a fine of up to $250
  • Exceptions to the order include children under the age of two and anyone with existing health condition that would be complicated by wearing a mask

The Pasco County School Board said the order will not affect students in public schools, but masks will be required for school employees and visitors.

City of Sarasota: Masks mandated

City officials in Sarasota passed a mandate requiring masks for indoor and outdoor public locations and businesses that went in effect July 1.

Exceptions to the mandate include:

  • Children under the age of 18
  • Schools, daycares and non-City government agencies
  • People for whom a face covering would cause impairment due to an existing health condition
  • Those working in a business or profession who do not interact with others, who maintain physical or social distancing from others or where a face covering would prevent them from performing their duties
  • Those who are outdoors or exercising while maintaining physical distancing
  • Those who are eating or drinking
  • And those that are hearing-impaired that need to see the mouth of someone wearing a face covering in order to communicate.

Sarasota County Schools will require masks inside its schools.

Longboat Key

The town of Longboat Key voted to approve the order on July 3, requiring people to wear face coverings indoors and outdoors in public areas where social distancing is not possible.

The order will be in effect for 60 days as of July 3, unless it is extended or repealed prior to the expiration date.

The order contains exceptions such as people not required to wear masks for anyone with health conditions that may prevent them from wearing masks. As well anyone under the age of six leaving it to the discretion of that a child’s parent, guardian, or accompanying adult.

A violation of the ordinance will carry a penalty of up to $500 with a first offense being a $100 fine.

Lakeland: Masks mandated

Lakeland commissioners approved a mask mandate that goes in effect Thursday, July 2.

The mandate applies to anyone in an indoor location, other than a home or residence, within city limits over the age of 8 years old. Exemptions include people observing social distancing, people for “whom a face covering would cause impairment due to an existing health condition,” people exercising, people eating or drinking and people under the age of 18 participating in youth sports.

People not wearing a mask, who are not exempt, could face a fine of up to $250.

Winter Haven: Masks mandated

City commissioners voted unanimously to become the second Polk County city to require face coverings inside buildings where social distancing isn’t possible.

The ordinance requires people to wear a face covering in any indoor location, besides their home, when social distancing is not possible.

Those who don’t comply will be fined $150.

Polk County: No mandate

Polk County officials will be monitoring how mask mandates affect testing results in Tampa and St. Petersburg but have no plans to require face coverings themselves.

“While numbers are ticking up…I do not see Polk County following Tampa’s lead. Folks are smart enough to make their own decisions,” George Lindsey, a Polk County commissioner, told 8 On Your Side.

Manatee County: No mandate

Manatee County currently does not have a mandatory mask order in place.

County commissioners did not move forward with any sort of mask mandate as of June 23. One of the concerns that came up multiple times during a meeting was enforcement.

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