TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Mayor Jane Castor has plans to implement a mandatory mask ordinance for City of Tampa residents.

Mayor Castor announced the ordinance during Hillsborough County’s Emergency Policy Group meeting on Thursday.

“The community is looking for leadership and that is what they need right now,” she said. “I’m going to put a mandatory mask ordinance for the City of Tampa right now to protect our citizens.”

The ordinance will go into effect Friday at 5 p.m.

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. If you do not have a mask, the city is giving out free masks at the following locations starting Saturday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Limit two per person in the car.

  • Himes Ave. Complex  – 4501 S. Himes Ave
  • MacFarlane Park – 1700 N. MacDill Ave.
  • Al Barnes Park – 2902 N. 32nd St.

“If we don’t want to have a downturn – go backward as Commissioner Overman just alluded to, to phase back instead of going forward – we are going to have to take action and the only action that has been mentioned by Dr. Rivkees, by Dr. Holt, by all of the heads of the hospitals…by all of the medical personnel, the only way to stop this is to wear a mask,” Castor said during the EPG meeting. “That is the only way. And the fact that our own health department doesn’t even have a requirement to wear a mask is just unconscionable to me. The community is looking at us as the leaders and they’re looking for us to give them direction.”

This news comes one day after Mayor Rick Kriseman announced all St. Pete businesses including bars, gyms, retail establishments, retail, barbershops and salons will now be required to have employees wear a face mask or covering in areas open to the public. St. Pete’s mandate will also go into effect Friday at 5 p.m.

The Hillsborough County EPG will vote on a similar mask order for the entire county on Monday. During Thursday’s meeting, Commissioner Kimberly Overman made a motion to have the county attorney draft up an order regarding mandatory mask usage in businesses. Commissioner Sandra Murman seconded the motion. It was passed 5-3, with Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, Plant City Mayor Rick Lott and Hillsborough County School Board Chair Melissa Snively voting no.

Dr. Douglas Holt, the director of the Hillsborough County Health Department, made note of the fact in the meeting that Hillsborough County has seen a continued increase in new cases so much so that the upward slope is becoming steeper.

Out of the five zip codes with the highest number of cases, four are within City of Tampa limits.

Below are the top five zip codes:

  • 33602
  • 33617
  • 33610
  • 33613
  • 33570

To read Mayor Castor’s ordinance in full, click here.